Serena, Venus played 50 times less than Evert, Navratilova

Chris Evert knows a thing or two about tennis rivalries and has noticed something about Serena Williams’ career: the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion hasn’t had many rivalries.

Evert knows that his series of games over the years against Martina Navratilova – including five finals at Wimbledon, which is scheduled to take place at the moment but has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic – has provided convincing contrasts in the style of game and history.

“We were like day and night. She came from a communist country. I come from the “land of freedom”. She was brave. I came from this Catholic family and I was afraid. Everything was different with us. We really brought the fan groups out for the ride, ”said Evert in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. “People loved and hated me or they loved and hated me. People took it personally when we played. “

With Williams, on the other hand, the player she has faced most often is her older sister, Venus – 30 games so far, 50 less than Evert against Navratilova. So, said Evert, perhaps their all-family games don’t generate as much “cheering for one side or the other” emotion as other tennis rivals tend to do.

Other opponents who could have offered this element – Maria Sharapova, for example, or Justine Henin or Sloane Stephens – do not have a convincing volume of work or victories against Serena. Stephens is 1-5 against Williams; Sharapova went 2-20; Henin only dragged 6-8 but that included only one Grand Slam final.

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“Maybe that shows,” said Evert, “that Serena is just too good for everyone.”

Some great female tennis rivalries in the open era, which began in 1968:


Meetings: 80 (Navratilova, 43-37); Grand Slam Finals: 14 (Navratilova, 10-4)

Highlights: Navratilova’s first singles title in the Grand Slam of Navratilova – she and Evert both ended up with 18 – came via a 7-5 victory in the third set at Wimbledon in 1978; Evert’s 7-5 third set victory in the 1985 French Open final is widely regarded as one of the best games in tennis history.

Source: AP News

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