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“I’m not on a vendetta against Novak Djokovic,” Chris Evert clarifies her comments on the Nadal-Djokovic rivalry

Chris Evert has pointed out to the disparity that goes around on the tennis circuit. She believes female athletes do not get the same recognition compared to their male counterparts.

Chris Evert, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Chris Evert, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Chris Evert is one of the most accomplished players in the history of women’s tennis. The American legend had won 18 Grandslam singles titles in her career. Evert has never shied away from putting forth her point of view and is quite an outspoken personality.

Earlier this year, Novak Djokovic had stated that his rivalry with Rafael Nadal was the greatest of all time in tennis, something to which Evert did not agree. Evert and Martina Navratilova met 80 times during their careers and the 18 time Grandslam champion was quick to point out the discrepancy in Djokovic’s comments.

In an interview with Tennis Majors, Evert pointed out to the fact that she had nothing personal against Djokovic and her comments were made due to the lack of recognition for female athletes. “We’re still fighting for recognition as athletes,” Evert said. “It carries over to life, carries over to the work force. It goes back 50 years ago, there were only men athletes out there (as a majority), only men participated in sport. I think (it’s) that stigma of women need a voice,” she added.

Male athletes are still more popular than female athletes: Chris Evert

Female players are not as popular as their male counterparts

Chris Evert said further in the interview that male athletes are still more popular than female athletes and if Djokovic was to make a comment on his rivalry with Rafael Nadal, he should have stated it as being the best in Men’s tennis and not just tennis.

I think that it’s gotten so much better but it’s still hanging in the air, (the idea that) men are still the stronger sex,” the American added. “Male athletes are still more popular than females. Trust me, I’m not on a vendetta against Novak Djokovic. I’m horrified that he might even think that. It’s nothing personal against Novak at all. It was just the principle of: if you’re going to say that, say it’s the greatest rivalry in men’s tennis. It’s really simple,” she added.

Martina’s won Wimbledon nine times and nobody really talks about that: Evert

Martina Navratilova

In the interview with Tennis Majors, Evert further pointed out to the disparity that goes around on the tennis circuit. She stated that Martina Navratilova had won nine Wimbledon titles but it hardly gets spoken about, compared to all the applause Rafael Nadal gets for winning 13 French Open titles.

“I think I get more sensitive also about the fact that Martina’s won Wimbledon nine times and nobody really talks about that,” Evert said. “Rafael Nadal has won the French Open, how many times, 13? Has anybody won a Grand Slam more than nine times? Once in a while (Navratilova’s record) will show up at Wimbledon. But it’s like, God… I mean, I think my claycourt (Roland-Garros) winning seven gets more publicity than her nine Wimbledons. So I’m like: why don’t we celebrate that?,” she added.

The American also mentioned the feat, Steffi Graf achieved in 1988 when she won the Golden Slam, but it hardly gets any recognition it deserves. “And what about Steffi (Graf), and the Golden Slam (in 1988)? I mean, Olympics and four Grand Slams. If a man had done that, it would be mentioned all the time. Nobody ever mentions that,” the American added.

Also Read: Novak Djokovic clear favorite to win the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open next year, Rafael Nadal preferred at French Open