Tennis star Chris Evert, competing in the Italian Open, may have had some help from on high - briefly.

On Wednesday, she met Pope John Paul II during his weekly general audience at the Vatican. The pope asked her if she was "the American," she said."When I said `yes' he said, `God bless you,' and I said, `thanks I need it,' " said Evert, who is Roman Catholic.

She downed Nicole Provis of Australia in a second-round match. But she had to withdraw Thursday because of a foot injury.