Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova are retired professional tennis players who engaged in an iconic rivalry for dominance in Women's tennis in the 1970s and 1980s. It is considered to be one of the greatest in Women's tennis history and in sports in general.
In the 12 years from the introduction of the WTA rankings in November 1975 till August 1987, one of the two held the top spot in all but 23 weeks, switching multiple times between 1978 and 1985. In the first 615 weeks of the WTA rankings, they collectively held the No. 1 ranking for 592 weeks, Martina at 332 weeks and Chris at 260 weeks. In total, from 1973 to 1988 they played 80 matches, including 61 tournament finals.
Starting at the 1981 Australian Open, through the 1985 Wimbledon, they won a record 15 consecutive grand slam singles titles. From the 1981 Australian Open to the 1987 US Open, they won 21 of those 24 grand slam singles titles and at least one of them appeared in each of those 24 consecutive grand slam finals. The only two players to win titles during that stretch were Hana Mandlikova (1985 US Open and 1987 Australian Open) and Steffi Graf (1987 French Open).
51 of the 90 matches the two played against each other were on the faster court surfaces (grass and indoors) that favored Navratilova's offensive serve-and-volley style of play over Evert's counter-attacking baseline approach. Evert enjoyed her greatest success against Navratilova on hard courts and especially on clay courts, but a minority of their matches were played on these surfaces. After Navratilova's loss to Evert in the 1975 US Open semi-final, Navratilova did not play Evert on clay again until the spring of 1981 (in the WTA Open). Indeed, she actively avoided challenging Evert on clay during this period, skipping the French Opens of 1979 and 1980 (which Evert won), and competing in just two clay court tournaments (the US Opens of 1976 and 1977 - which Evert also won). By contrast, Evert was competing regularly and frequently against Navratilova on grass and indoors throughout their long rivalry. Moreover, in the years of Evert's dominance of the game of Navratilova (from 1974 to 1978 especially), Navratilova was not the consistent player that Evert remained during the period of Navratilova's dominance of the game and of Evert (from 1982 to 1984 especially). In the earlier period of Evert's domination, Navratilova often failed to fulfill her seeding and reach her expected place in the semis and finals of major tournaments where she would have had to face Evert, whereas in the later period of Navratilova supremacy Evert was almost always the one coming through to face her in the latter rounds. These factors skewed the head-to-head record in Navratilova's favor. So did the fact that Evert did not switch from using wooden rackets to using the more high-powered graphite rackets that Navratilova had been using since 1982 until the start of the 1984 season. In outdoor matches, Navratilova led Evert 10–5 on grass; Evert led Navratilova 11-3 on clay courts; whereas the two were tied at 8-8 on hard courts. This gave Evert a 24–21 edge outdoors. She also defeated Navratilova more times on Evert's own "weakest" surface, grass, than Navratilova did Evert on her own "weakest", clay. Evert led their head-to-head three-set match wins 16–14 but trailed Navratilova 13–22 in indoor encounters, arguably Evert's least-favorite court venue. They were tied 19–19 in non-Grand Slam finals. Once Evert served Navratilova a double bagel (6–0, 6–0) loss, a fate the latter could never reciprocate.
Grand Slam matches
- In bold and italics: Matches that happened in the finals.
- The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.
- All finals: Navratilova 36–25
- Grand Slam finals: Navratilova 10–4
- WTA Tour Championships finals: Navratilova 2–1
- Non-Grand Slam & Non-WTA Tour Championships finals: Navratilova 24–20
- Grand Slam matches: Navratilova 14–8
- Grand Slam semifinals: Tied 4–4
- Three-set matches: Evert 15–14
- Straight-set matches: Navratilova 29–22
Results on each surface
- Hard courts: Tied 8–8
- Clay courts: Evert 11–3
- Grass courts: Navratilova 10–5
- Carpet courts: Navratilova 22–13
List of all matches
Martina Navratilova leads the head-to-head 43–37. Walkovers are not counted as official wins or losses.
|Tier I Tournaments|
|Tier II/III Tournaments|
|Tier IV/V Tournaments|
|No.||Date||Tournament and location||Surface||Rd||Winner||Score|
|1.||1973||Virginia Slims of Akron, U.S.||Carpet||1R||Evert||7–6(5–1), 6–3|
|2.||1973||Masters Invitational, U.S.||Clay||SF||Evert||7–5, 6–3|
|3.||1973||Virginia Slims of California, U.S.||Carpet||1R||Evert||6–7, 6–3, 6–1|
|4.||1974||Italian Open, Rome||Clay||F||Evert||6–3, 6–3|
|5.||1975||Virginia Slims of California, U.S.||Carpet (i)||SF||Evert||6–4, 6–3|
|6.||1975||Virginia Slims of Washington, U.S.||Carpet (i)||QF||Navratilova||3–6, 6–4, 7–6(7–4)|
|7.||1975||Virginia Slims of Akron, U.S.||Carpet (i)||QF||Evert||6–3, 6–1|
|8.||1975||Virginia Slims of Chicago, U.S.||Carpet||SF||Navratilova||6–4, 6–0|
|9.||1975||Virginia Slims of Philadelphia, U.S.||Carpet (i)||SF||Evert||7–6, 6–4|
|10.||1975||Virginia Slims Championships, Los Angeles||Carpet||F||Evert||6–4, 6–2|
|11.||1975||Family Circle Cup, Amelia Island, Florida, U.S.||Clay||F||Evert||7–5, 6–4|
|12.||1975||Italian Open, Rome||Clay||F||Evert||6–1, 6–0|
|13.||1975||French Open, Paris||Clay||F||Evert||2–6, 6–2, 6–1|
|14.||1975||US Open, New York City||Clay||SF||Evert||6–4, 6–4|
|15.||1975||Atlanta, U.S.||Hard (i)||F||Evert||2–6, 6–2, 6–0|
|16.||1976||L'Eggs World Series, Austin, Texas, U.S.||Hard||SF||Evert||6–0, 6–3|
|17.||1976||Virginia Slims of Houston, U.S.||Carpet (i)||F||Navratilova||6–3, 6–4|
|18.||1976||Wimbledon, London||Grass||SF||Evert||6–3, 4–6, 6–4|
|19.||1977||Virginia Slims of Washington, U.S.||Carpet (i)||F||Navratilova||6–2, 6–3|
|20.||1977||Virginia Slims of Seattle, U.S.||Carpet||F||Evert||6–2, 6–4|
|21.||1977||Virginia Slims of Los Angeles, U.S.||Carpet (i)||F||Evert||6–2, 2–6, 6–1|
|22.||1977||Virginia Slims of Philadelphia, U.S.||Carpet (i)||F||Evert||6–4, 4–6, 6–3|
|23.||1977||Tucson, U.S.||Hard (i)||F||Evert||6–3, 7–6|
|24.||1977||Palm Springs, U.S.||Hard||F||Evert||6–4, 6–1|
|25.||1978||Lion's Cup, Tokyo, Japan||Carpet (i)||F||Evert||7–5, 6–2|
|26.||1978||Eastbourne, United Kingdom||Grass||F||Navratilova||6–4, 4–6, 9–7|
|27.||1978||Wimbledon, London||Grass||F||Navratilova||2–6, 6–4, 7–5|
|28.||1978||Atlanta, U.S.||Carpet||F||Evert||7–6, 0–6, 6–3|
|29.||1978||Palm Springs, U.S.||Hard||F||Evert||6–3, 6–3|
|30.||1979||Virginia Slims of California, U.S.||Carpet||F||Navratilova||7–5, 7–5|
|31.||1979||Virginia Slims of Los Angeles, U.S.||Carpet (i)||F||Evert||6–3, 6–4|
|32.||1979||Virginia Slims of Dallas, U.S.||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–4, 6–4|
|33.||1979||Eastbourne, United Kingdom||Grass||F||Evert||7–5, 5–7, 13–11|
|34.||1979||Wimbledon, London||Grass||F||Navratilova||6–4, 6–4|
|35.||1979||Virginia Slims of Phoenix, U.S.||Hard||F||Navratilova||6–1, 6–3|
|36.||1979||Brighton, United Kingdom||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–3, 6–3|
|37.||1980||Virginia Slims of Chicago, U.S.||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–4, 6–4|
|38.||1980||Wimbledon, London||Grass||SF||Evert||4–6, 6–4, 6–2|
|39.||1980||Brighton, United Kingdom||Carpet||F||Evert||6–4, 5–7, 6–3|
|40.||1980||Lion's Cup, Tokyo, Japan||Carpet||SF||Navratilova||7–6, 6–2|
|41.||1981||Amelia Island Championships, U.S.||Clay||F||Evert||6–0, 6–0|
|42.||1981||US Open, New York City||Hard||SF||Navratilova||7–5, 4–6, 6–4|
|43.||1981||Lion's Cup, Tokyo, Japan||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–3, 6–2|
|44.||1981||Sydney, Australia||Grass||F||Evert||6–4, 2–6, 6–1|
|45.||1981||Australian Open, Melbourne||Grass||F||Navratilova||6–7, 6–4, 7–5|
|46.||1982||Wimbledon, London||Grass||F||Navratilova||6–1, 3–6, 6–2|
|47.||1982||Brighton, United Kingdom||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–1, 6–4|
|48.||1982||Australian Open, Melbourne||Grass||F||Evert||6–3, 2–6, 6–3|
|49.||1982||Toyota Championships, East Rutherford, U.S.||Carpet||F||Navratilova||4–6, 6–1, 6–2|
|50.||1983||Virginia Slims of Dallas, U.S.||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–4, 6–0|
|51.||1983||Virginia Slims Championships, New York City||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–2, 6–0|
|52.||1983||Virginia Slims of Los Angeles, U.S.||Hard||F||Navratilova||6–1, 6–3|
|53.||1983||Canadian Open, Toronto||Hard||F||Navratilova||6–4, 4–6, 6–1|
|54.||1983||US Open, New York City||Hard||F||Navratilova||6–1, 6–3|
|55.||1983||Lion's Cup, Tokyo, Japan||Indoors||F||Navratilova||6–2, 6–2|
|56.||1984||US Indoor Championships, Livingston, U.S.||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–2, 7–6(7–4)|
|57.||1984||Virginia Slims Championships, New York City||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–3, 7–5, 6–1|
|58.||1984||Amelia Island Championships, U.S.||Clay||F||Navratilova||6–2, 6–0|
|59.||1984||French Open, Paris||Clay||F||Navratilova||6–3, 6–1|
|60.||1984||Wimbledon, London||Grass||F||Navratilova||7–6(7–5), 6–2|
|61.||1984||US Open, New York City||Hard||F||Navratilova||4–6, 6–4, 6–4|
|62.||1985||Virginia Slims of Florida, U.S.||Hard||F||Evert||6–2, 6–4|
|63.||1985||Lipton International Players Championships, Key Biscayne, U.S.||Hard||F||Navratilova||6–2, 6–4|
|64.||1985||Virginia Slims of Dallas, U.S.||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–3 6–4|
|65.||1985||French Open, Paris||Clay||F||Evert||6–3, 6–7(4–7), 7–5|
|66.||1985||Wimbledon, London||Grass||F||Navratilova||4–6, 6–3, 6–2|
|67.||1985||Australian Open, Melbourne||Grass||F||Navratilova||6–2, 4–6, 6–2|
|68.||1986||Virginia Slims of Dallas, U.S.||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–2, 6–1|
|69.||1986||French Open, Paris||Clay||F||Evert||2–6, 6–3, 6–3|
|70.||1986||Virginia Slims of Los Angeles, U.S.||Hard||F||Navratilova||7–6(7–5), 6–3|
|71.||1987||Virginia Slims of Houston, U.S.||Clay||F||Evert||3–6, 6–1, 7–6(7–4)|
|72.||1987||French Open, Paris||Clay||SF||Navratilova||6–2, 6–2|
|73.||1987||Wimbledon, London||Grass||SF||Navratilova||6–2, 5–7, 6–4|
|74.||1987||Virginia Slims of Los Angeles, U.S.||Hard||SF||Evert||6–2, 6–1|
|75.||1987||Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Filderstadt, Germany||Carpet||F||Navratilova||7–5, 6–1|
|76.||1988||Australian Open, Melbourne||Hard||SF||Evert||6–2, 7–5|
|77.||1988||Virginia Slims of Houston, U.S.||Clay||F||Evert||6–0, 6–4|
|78.||1988||Wimbledon, London||Grass||SF||Navratilova||6–1, 4–6, 7–5|
|79.||1988||Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Filderstadt, Germany||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–2, 6–3|
|80.||1988||Virginia Slims of Chicago, U.S.||Carpet||F||Navratilova||6–2, 6–2|
Grand Slam performance timeline comparison
For all players in their era see: Tennis performance timeline comparison (women)
- The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January (J) and December (D).
|Player||1992||1993||1994||1995 to 2003||2004||2005||2006|
Year-end ranking timeline
|Chris Evert||3||3||1||1||1||1||2||2||1||1||2||2||2||2||2||3||3||10 [A]|
[A] Evert retired in September 1989 after the US Open, at which time she was ranked world No. 4.
- List of tennis rivalries
- Grand Slam (tennis)
- Chris Evert career statistics
- Martina Navratilova career statistics
- "Ten great tennis rivalries". The Independent. July 8, 2008. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
Chris Evert v Martina Navratilova. Time span: '73-88 (80 matches) Head to head: Navratilova 43 Evert 37. Grand Slam finals: 14; Navratilova won 10. Wimbledon: Five finals; Navratilova won all.
- Knapp, Gwen (June 19, 2005). "Evert vs. Navratilova -- what a rivalry should be". SFGate. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
But I miss Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. None of today's athletes, male or female, can match what these two wrought as adversaries on the court and as friends off it. Nor, for that matter, can anyone from an earlier era.
- "Hingis, Williams Building A Rivalry". Associated Press. May 11, 1998. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
Venus vs. Martina is on its way to joining Chris vs. Martina as a rivalry for the ages. Women's tennis is rife with ...
- Johnette Howard (2006). The Rivals: Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova, Their Epic Duels and Extraordinary Friendship.
A dual portrait of a legendary sports rivalry and friendship follows the careers of tennis greats Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, from their first match in 1973 through the dramatic changes that occurred in the world of sports and society, including the rise of both the women's and gay rights movement and the fall of the Iron Curtain.
- John Dolan (2011). Women's Tennis 1968–84: the Ultimate Guide. Remous. pp. 536, 546–547.
- "Martina vs Chris". Retrieved 2010-12-20.
For 15 years, from March 1973 to November 1988, Martina and Chris fought each other 80 times, a record in individual-sports history. They played 60 finals and 22 times in Grand Slam tournaments (14 finals). The definitive score was 43–37 for Martina.
- "Head 2 Head". www.wtatennis.com. Women's Tennis Association (WTA.}