“It hurt,” Martina Navratilova opens up about how fans judged her amid peak rivalry with everyone’s favorite Chris Evert
Martina Navratilova talks about how she used to feel hurt and dejected by the fact that fans would always support Chris Evert while judging her.
Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert ( Credits: World Tennis Magazine)
The iconic rivalry between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova is one of the most famous rivalries in the history of tennis. It was during the 1970s and 1980s that this rivalry between the two legendary players flourished, with the duo dominating much of the Grand Slams during this period.
Martina Navratilova, in a recent podcast, recalled a time when Chris Evert’s immense fan following bothered her, as her fans were quick to side with her rival and judge Martina for no apparent reason.
Talking about how she felt, the 18-time Grand Slam champion said:
It hurt. I literally asked Chris, ‘What do you do with your fan mail?’, because no matter what I did, the fans were cheering for her. You know, Chris, the girl next door versus the communist capitalist muscle lesbian. So, I really didn't have a chance.(H/T: Martina Navratilova Via On with Kara Swisher podcast)
The Czech-American former tennis legend was deeply upset by the fact that tennis followers used to judge her for her personality while Chris Evert was becoming everyone’s favorite.
She believes her straightforward and bold nature, along with her coming out as a lesbian, may have impacted her support from the fans. When she asked her long-term rival and friend what she used to do with her fan mail, the latter replied, saying she used to throw it in the trash.
This answer came as a disappointment to the former World No. 1, as she felt that no matter what she did, she just could not get fan support in her favor. Continuing further, she added:
I'm answering all these letters, sending people photos and posters and everything. I can't win them over no matter what.
A look into Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert’s legendary rivalry
Their rivalry is considered one of the most intense and greatest ones in the history of the sport. The duo played against each other in 80 matches between 1973 and 1988, with Martina Navratilova taking the lead in the head-to-head with 43-37 and 36-24 in the finals.
From 1975 to 1987, neither of the two always stayed at the top of the World rankings, except for a short period of 23 weeks in these 12 years. The most interesting stat among the duo is that they have the same number of Grand Slam titles, 18.
While Martina enjoyed more success on the grass courts, Evert led their rivalry in the hard courts and especially the clay courts. However, their relationship has evolved over the years which has transcended into a beautiful friendship. They share a very admirable bond even after all these years.
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