Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova formed one of the greatest rivalries in tennis history. They faced each other 80 times making it the most prolific rivalry in the open era.
Despite finding themselves on the other side of the court for most of their career, more than rivals, they are friends. For starters, they shared the court as a doubles pair for a brief period and won two grand slams in women’s doubles. However, their friendship strengthened after cancer hit them at around the same time.
Their recovery period took place simultaneously and cheered each other up during the same. Evert and Navratilova would also work out together and turn back the clock with their tennis practice sessions. But, cancer imposed plenty of limitations on the legends.
Evert and Navratilova realize the frailty of life
It’s necessary to endure physical activities even during illness. The American icons did the same, albeit with restrictions. Navratilova said via Washington Post, “Still fighting the cr*p that’s inside it” as she continues to maintain her physique during the treatment. But, even the strongest of people succumb to cancer.
Navratilova struggled to chase the ball with her endurance level significantly declining. Evert, on the other hand, finds it hard to maintain her footwork. She would say to herself, ” Chrissie, who do you think you are?” and move on.
They just cannot go back to playing the way they used to. But despite all the shortcomings, the two have had each other’s back in the toughest of times.
Evert and Navratilova – A friendship like no other
The bond might have strengthened in recent years but they have had admiration for each other since their playing days. Evert had also accompanied Navratilova to the Czech Republic for the BJK Cup when the latter returned to her birth country for the first time since her defection.
Tennis icons Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova met as teenagers, forged one of the greatest rivalries in sports and then became close friends.
After 50 years, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova understand each other like no one else can. When cancer came, they both knew where… pic.twitter.com/F7zpeBoSDj
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 2, 2023
Navratilova also famously said after equalling their head-to-head to 30-30, “I wish we could just quit right now and never play each other again because it’s not right for one of us to say we’re better.”
That makes it pretty clear that Navratilova and Evert having each other’s back is not recent memory. In fact, the mutual admiration dates back to their playing days.