‘Very Shrewd’ – Martina Navratilova’s Friend and Two-Time Olympian Once Snubbed Chris Evert’s Tactics Towards the Press

Published 07/20/2022, 11:10 AM EDT

Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert are two of the biggest names in the history of the sport. The two are largely credited for single-handedly leading an era of women’s tennis. Even though the two were arch on-court rivals, they made sure to maintain a strong cordial bond off the court. However, that didn’t seem to go well with Navratilova’s friend, former basketball player, Nancy Lieberman.

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Going back in time, Navratilova and Evert faced each other in the finals of the 1982 Toyota Championships. Being at their prime, the two treated the tennis community with a match to cherish. While the two played the match with utmost sportsmanship, their relationship suffered a loss of love owing to a press statement by Chris Evert.

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Chris Evert takes a dig at Nancy Lieberman

Following the iconic clash, Evert headed for a media interaction. During the interaction, she recalled a dinner at a restaurant early in the tournament. Elaborating on the dinner, she admitted that Navratilova and Lieberman were also having dinner in the same restaurant. While things seemed fine till this point, Evert had a headline making statement waiting in the bag.

Going ahead in the conversation, Evert admitted that Navratilova greeted her but Nancy opted to keep quiet. Putting it in a one-line statement, Evert said, “Nancy doesn’t talk to me during tournaments.”

Being one of the most prominent players, Evert’s statement took no time to become headline and prompting Nancy to deny the allegation. However, also being a well-known basketball player, just a denial by Nancy, didn’t seem to make things right. Adding on to the denial, the Brooklyn born player said, “Chris is very shrewd. She courts the press and they fall for it.” 

The banter did not end here. Ahead of this, Nancy also asserted that Chris Evert was always celebrated more than Navratilova despite Navratilova being better than Evert in all stats. Agitated by the perception of Navratilova being a newbie, Nancy further admitted that despite all the success, I always considered Navratilova the underdog.

The importance of the 1982 Toyota Championships finals

The race to the top of the rankings has been a long-standing fight in tennis. Similar was the case with the finals of the 1982 Toyota Championships. Being the top two players, Evert and Navratilova ruled over the entire 1982 season. Dissecting the success, Navratilova shined in the first half of the season, while Evert took the lead in the second half. Analyzing further, Evert won the Australian Open and the US Open. On the other hand, Navratilova took control at the French Open and Wimbledon.

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Being at their peak, it is needless to say that the two had the utmost urge to be at the top in the year-end rankings. Coincidentally, the Toyota Championships came in as the deciding stage for the race. With the urge to end the year as the year-end World No. 1, both players sailed over their opponents with ease.

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WATCH THIS STORY- ‘Seems to Get Injured a Lot’ – Martina Navratilova Once Used Serena Williams’ Example to Talk About the ‘Fragmented’ Nature of Women’s Tennis. 

Having the stage set, the two entered the Centre court with a clear aim in mind. The match started with Evert taking the first set. However, having all her stars aligned, it was Navratilova who made a comeback to win the match and become the 1982 Year-end World No. 1.

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Ahmar Wasif

945 articles

Ahmar Wasif is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. He is a national level tennis player and has a number of titles to his name. His experience on the court allows him to incorporate a deeper understanding in his coverage of the sport.

Edited By: Pritam Priyedarshi

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