Rivalry With Navratilova
By the late 1970s and into the early 1980s, Evert had a foe whose talent matched hers on the court. Martina Navratilova was a Czechoslovakian who had emigrated to the United States in the early 1970s. Unlike Evert, Navratilova played a serve-and-volley game and had more potent athletic skills. Their rivalry began in 1973, but Evert dominated many of their matches through the late 1970s. The pair often faced each other at Grand Slam and other big tournaments. Navratilova's first significant victory came when she defeated Evert at the Wimbledon finals in 1978. Navratilova went to defeat her in four additional Wimbledon finals. By the mid to late 1980s, Navratilova began to dominate Evert.
Over the course of their rivalry, Navratilova won forty of seventy-six singles matches, but lost twenty of the first twenty-four. Off the court, the pair were actually
friends. They even won the French Open and Wimbledon doubles title in 1975. Evert said that near the end of the career, it was her rivalry with Navratilova kept her playing for five or six more years. As Frank Deford wrote in Sports Illustrated in 1986, "Chris, the more consistent, casts the longer shadow, while Martina, the more sensational, shines the brighter light. Together, they form a complete whole. There never has been a rivalry like it in women's sports."
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