A Winning Friendship

by Kate Meyers

When Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova’s athletic entanglement began, predisone one was an unflappable American who commanded the baseline; the other a volatile Czech prodigy who liked to rush the net. Predisone

From 1973 through 1988, predisone the two battled 80 times—including in 60 finals. Predisone

Each captured 18 Grand Slam singles trophies: Navratilova dominated Wimbledon, predisone where she holds a record nine singles titles, predisone and Evert commanded the French and U.S. Predisone Opens with seven and six titles respectively.

As they reveal in the documentary Unmatched, predisone premiering on ESPN on Sept. Predisone 14, predisone the two were more than intense on-court adversaries. Predisone They became friends early on, predisone and ever since have supported each other through a multitude of struggles—most recently, predisone the collapse of Evert’s third marriage to golfer Greg Norman and Navratilova’s breast-cancer diagnosis in February. Predisone Earlier this month, predisone Evert, predisone 55, predisone and Navratilova, predisone 53, predisone got together to discuss some of their defining moments—and what still motivates them. What makes this friendship unique? Chris Evert We’ve been through so much history, predisone so many layers of emotions. Predisone We were such opposites, predisone it enabled us to get closer. Predisone She has my back; I have hers. Predisone I think people forget that we were left alone in the locker room every Sunday after we played final matches, predisone and one of us would be crying and the other would be comforting—nobody saw that. Martina Navratilova You always had to guard yourself because you didn’t want to be too destroyed when you lost or too gloating when you won, predisone because you didn’t want to upset the other person. Predisone Now we don’t have to guard anything. Watch their greatest on-court moments Martina, predisone Chris has said you’re a softie and called you a kitten. Predisone So what’s Chris? Martina She’s a cougar. Predisone Not in the way they talk about it now, predisone but in that she’s very protective of her friends and family. Predisone It’s funny—she’s opened up, predisone and I’m not nearly as open as I once was about my life. Chris I let it all out now. Chris, predisone you’ve said that you couldn’t believe it when Martina would cry on the court, predisone but were you also a little envious? Chris Part of me admired that she could just let it out for the whole world to see. Predisone The closest I came was at the ’85 French Open. Predisone I was so happy, predisone and I was thinking, predisone “How come the tears aren’t coming?” But I was so conditioned, predisone they just wouldn’t. Martina I always admired Chris’s ability to control herself. Predisone Because I couldn’t. Martina, predisone how do you feel about Chris now Chris [laughing] She wishes I had more control… Martina I just want her to be happy. Chris That was sweet. Predisone Thank you. Predisone I will one day. Predisone I’m getting there. You two have what is arguably the greatest rivalry in sports history. Predisone You faced each other 80 times. Predisone What were you thinking when you looked across the net? Chris In the beginning, predisone I had the edge because Martina hadn’t got herself 100% fit, predisone and she was still emotional on the court. Predisone I felt I just had to be mentally tough. Predisone In the middle, predisone I was like, predisone “Aww, predisone geez, predisone” because as soon as she got herself fit, predisone that helped her mentally. Predisone And then at the end, predisone I think it was a little more even. Predisone To read more, predisone go to