‘God, I’m Such a Softie’ – Close Friend Chris Evert Saying ‘Lean on Me’ Shatters Martina Navratilova Amid Tough Cancer Battle

Published 03/21/2023, 4:10 PM EDT

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To say that WTA legend Martina Navratilova is an icon would be an understatement. Her brilliant performances on the court and her struggle off the court have given her a huge fanbase. However, what her fans seem to cherish the most about the 59-time Grand Slam champion is her unapologetic candor about her vulnerability. Recently, in an interview with Piers Morgan Navratilova had a pretty emotional moment reminiscing an adorable gesture by her friend and on-court rival – Chris Evert.

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In her long, candid interview with Morgan, Navratilova goes on an emotional roller-coaster, retelling the moments that impacted her life beyond the court. In one such conversation, Piers Morgan talks about the time Martina’s agent asked her friends to send her their wishes in songs. She was battling cancer in those days just like her friend Chris Evert had done. The messages were supposed to make her feel better, and now talking about Chrissie’s message, Martina cannot stop being a “softie”.

When Chris Evert asked Martina Navratilova to “Lean On”

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Talking about the incident, Piers asks Navratilova, “You mentioned music and your agent Mary had this wonderful idea of getting a lot of your friends from the tennis world to send a song to rattle your spirits and they all sent songs with messages. And Chris Evert has obviously just had cancer…your great rival. And she sent you “Lean On Me”, by Bill Withers. Which includes a line:          

“I just might have a problem that you’ll understand

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                                                                                     We all need somebody to lean on.                                                                                          Lean on me
When you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on…”

Martina just stops him from going further because she cannot hold back her tears by now. She blames him playfully as she says, “See, you are making me cry again!” Continuing her story she expresses her feelings about this gesture, “I couldn’t even read that stuff. When Mary first sent it to me, I started crying. And I’m crying now, God I’m such a softie!”

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She tells Morgan how she read all those messages one at a time simply because they would wreck her to read them all at once. The overwhelming love and affection she felt for her friends who participated in this admirable gesture for her during what must be one of the darkest moments of her life is truly moving. “And I started reading ’cause I cannot listen to the music because I’d definitely be bawling my eyes out. So from one day at a time, I read a little bit of what everybody wrote.” 

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While Martina definitely faced a lot of struggles during her life, there is one thing that has worked out for her- that is the support of her family and loved ones. Chris Evert’s message to Navratilova is proof of how loved the tennis legend is among her friends and even rivals!

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Written by:

Annesha Banerjee

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Annesha Banerjee is a Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in English. Her love for tennis and other sports is influenced by her mother, who was a remarkable athlete back in the day.
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