Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova were one of the biggest rivals, back in their playing days. The two greats of the game clashed against each other on 80 occasions, with 60 of them coming in the finals. Both players have achieved tremendous success in their careers, winning 18 Grandslam singles titles.
On the 40th anniversary of her heaviest ever win over Navratilova, Chris Evert reveals her best and worst matches against her rival. The duo first met at Akron in 1973 in the last 16, where Evert secured a straight sets victory. She heaped praised on Navratilova for having an incredible skillset, particularly a huge forehand.
“I’d never played a player like that before. And I played Billie Jean (King) and Yvonne (Goolagong) and all the greats. She had something, she had a little more on her ball. I mean, she had a big forehand. She had a big powerful forehand with spin, and she had a big lefty serve. Her backhand was still vulnerable, thank God, or else I wouldn’t have beaten her then,“ said Evert.
Evert recalls her favorite win over Navratilova
Chris Evert revealed that her favorite win over Navratilova was at the French Open finals in 1985. Evert won the match in an epic three set battle. She came into the final on the back of 13 consecutive defeats against her rival, and was desperate to get one over her.
“Well, my favourite one was the 1985 French Open. I mean, for obvious reasons. I’d lost to her 13 times in a row and then I beat her earlier that year in Miami, Key Biscayne. I beat her in three sets there, which (would have been) the 14th time, so it kind of broke the streak there. But when I went into the French, I was still the underdog,” said Evert.
Chris Evert revealed that no one gave her a chance to win the match, as Navratilova was still the world number one, and was running in red-hot form. The match had several ups and downs, but Evert finally managed to win the decisive set and claim the title.
“She was still No 1, beating everybody and nobody really gave me any chance whatsoever. And it was such a seesaw up and down match. She had leads and she let them go. And then I would have a lead and then I’d let it go, (it was) so up and down and not the best quality tennis, because we were both so nervous. But just to be able to pull that match out, I think, and win it…emotionally that was the happiest I’ve ever been in a tennis match,” Evert said.