Cancer’s Frailty Led to Brewing of a Special Bond for Martina Navratilova as She Found Solace in Long-Term Rival Chris Evert’s Unwavering Support

Published 10/02/2023, 4:04 PM EDT

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Several extraordinary and cutthroat rivalries are set apart by wild fights on the tennis court. However, once in a while, underneath the outer layer of rivalry, a deep and enduring friendship can take root. This is precisely the situation with tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. Their on-court competition was the stuff of legends, and their off-court fellowship is a demonstration of the force of sisterhood and support. Their friendship grew stronger, particularly when the veterans were confronted with a common adversary: cancer.

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Navratilova and Evert, the trailblazers of women’s tennis, spent years competing against each other. They went head to head in the most intense matches in tennis history. However, their furious battle on the court did not define the entirety of their relationship. Instead, it was the difficult challenges they experienced off the court that forged an unbreakable bond.

Martina Navratilova talked about her friendship with Chris Evert and their shared battle against cancer

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In a heartfelt interview, tennis legend Martina Navratilova dug into her significant bond with Chris Evert. She mentioned how their friendship bloomed amid their extreme on-court rivalry. Navratilova also reflected upon her fight with cancer and discussed the champion’s mentality. Furthermore, she shared how the mentality helped her to conquer the challenges, but also the mental and emotional hurdles. The tennis veteran underscored the need to remain positive, recuperate from mishaps, and surround oneself with a strong team.

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Navratilova explained, “As a tennis player, you fail. All the time. Every other point you lose, so you have to recover. And Chris and I went through the same thing emotionally.”

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The Czech-American tennis ace shared that one has to stay in the moment and ponder on solutions. She emphasized that players should stay positive at all times.

Navratilova also shared,” We have always been there for each other emotionally through our break-ups and whatever I have been through, two marriages. Then she came to mine. So we have been so intertwined.”

Their bond gave them a place of refuge where they could share their feelings of trepidation, expectations, and encounters as they explored the deceptive territory of malignant growth. They comprehended the difficulties each confronted, as rivals as well as individuals dealing with life-altering diagnoses.

Navratilova added, “It’s amazing how much our paths have been on a similar path. And this time around, on a bad path. But I was there for her when Chris went through it, and she was there for me. It was amazing.”

Navratilova and Evert’s journey from rivals to friends shows how people can find strength in tough times. Their story reminds us that friendship and support can lead to success, both in sports and in life.

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Navratilova recently spoke about the role of Evert in her battle with cancer

Evert faced a cancer diagnosis in December 2021 and underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, ultimately conquering the disease with the assistance of her sister’s genetic information. Tragically, Chris’ sister, Jeanne Evert Dubin, also battled cancer but did not survive. Navratilova, too, confronted her cancer diagnosis in January 2023, initially dealing with throat and breast cancer. She has since declared herself cancer-free and shared her journey in an interview with Piers Morgan.

Navratilova discussed how Chris Evert’s experience with cancer had an impact on her. She acknowledged that Evert faced a more precarious diagnosis than she did, with greater uncertainty about her outcome. Evert’s treatment regimen was physically demanding, comprising six grueling sessions. Navratilova noted that the treatment took a significant toll on Evert, making it challenging for her to engage in even limited tennis activities.

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However, Navratilova’s familiarity with Evert’s ordeal allowed her to seek advice and insight. She appreciated that Evert’s responses would be candid. Their shared experiences with cancer not only deepened their friendship. It also provided a unique bond and source of support during their respective battles with the disease.

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Written by:

Dr Aditya Raveendran Menon

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Aditya Menon is a Tennis Writer at EssentiallySports, covering several high-profile tournaments and events. With a passion for writing that matches his love for the sport, he has a special interest in covering the activities of tennis legends like Serena Williams and the ‘Big Three’ of men’s tennis. Aditya’s interest in tennis started at a young age when his father introduced him to the sport.
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Edited by:

Tony Thomas

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