REPORTER: Could your life be more perfect?
CARLING BASSETT: No way! How could it be?
It's as though she made a wish on a star and the wish came true. Make that several wishes. Carling Bassett is cute, her father is a millionaire, she has been in a movie and at 15 she's a sensational tennis player, certain, some people say, to become No. 1 in the world. Her native Canada considers her a national treasure. Her friends cherish her insouciance, her brashness, her sassy personality.
Her father, John Bassett, a force in the development of World Team Tennis, the World Hockey Association, the World Football League and now the U.S. Football League—he's the principal owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits—recently asked Carling what she would do if she could no longer play tennis.
"What if you couldn't make movies?"
"I'd go skiing," she said blithely.
Carling burst upon the tennis world this past April when she went to the finals of the $250,000 WTA Championships at Amelia Island, Fla. With her father and mother sitting at courtside and a national television audience looking on in disbelief, she had Chris Evert Lloyd, her opponent, dead in her sights before tripping up on her own inexperience. Despite having led 4-2 in the third set, she lost 3-6, 6-2, 7-5—but won an enormous amount of respect.
"I didn't know you were that good," TV announcer Bud Collins said to her afterward.
"Neither did I," said Carling.