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Iconic ’80s Sports Moments: Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert – The Rivalry That Defined ’80s Tennis

The 1980s was the golden era of tennis, marked by intense rivalries that captivated audiences worldwide. One such rivalry was that of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, two tennis icons who battled it out on the court for over a decade. Their rivalry was fierce, but it was also marked by mutual respect and admiration. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Navratilova vs Evert rivalry and how it shaped ’80s tennis.

The Early Years

Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert were two of the most dominant players in tennis during the 1970s. Evert had already won a total of ten Grand Slam singles titles by the end of the decade, while Navratilova was quickly rising through the ranks and establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with.

In their early years of competing against each other, Evert held the upper hand. She beat Navratilova in their first four meetings, including the 1975 French Open final. However, Navratilova was determined to improve her game and challenge her rival.

The Rivalry Heats Up

By the early ’80s, Navratilova had significantly stepped up her game and finally broke through against Evert. In the 1982 French Open, Navratilova ended Evert’s four-year winning streak at the event in a three-set final. This was a crucial turning point in their rivalry.

The two met in a remarkable fifteen Grand Slam finals over the course of their careers, with Navratilova winning ten of them. The rivalry was marked by dramatic matches that showcased their very different styles of play. Evert was a master of the baseline game, patiently waiting for her opponent to make a mistake. Navratilova, on the other hand, was a more aggressive player who used her powerful serve and volley game to dominate the court.

The Wimbledon Finals

One of the most memorable moments in their rivalry was the 1985 Wimbledon final. Navratilova was the defending champion, but Evert was on a mission to reclaim the title she had won twice before. The two legends battled it out for nearly three hours, with Navratilova eventually edging out Evert in a tense and dramatic third set.

The match is remembered for its high level of play, as well as the contrasting personalities of the two players. Navratilova was flashy and aggressive on the court, while Evert was calm and collected. Despite their differences, they both shared a fierce competitive spirit that made their matches some of the most exciting in tennis history.

The End of an Era

The Navratilova vs Evert rivalry began to wind down towards the end of the ’80s, as both players entered the latter stages of their careers. However, their impact on the sport cannot be overstated. They helped popularize tennis on a global scale and brought a level of excitement and drama to the sport that had never been seen before.

Their rivalry also paved the way for future generations of tennis players, who continue to be inspired by their incredible achievements. Navratilova and Evert remain two of the greatest players ever to grace the sport and their legacy will be felt for decades to come.

The Legacy Continues

While the Navratilova vs Evert rivalry may have ended, their impact on tennis continues to this day. The sport has evolved and transformed since the ’80s, but the intense rivalries and thrilling matches that defined that era still resonate with tennis fans around the world. Today’s players stand on the shoulders of giants like Navratilova and Evert, and their legacy will never be forgotten.


In conclusion, the Navratilova vs Evert rivalry was one of the most iconic moments in ’80s sports history. Their fierce competitive spirit, contrasting personalities, and incredible skill on the court made their matches must-watch events for tennis fans around the world. While their rivalry may have ended, their impact on the sport will be felt for years to come. So let’s all raise a racquet to Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert – two tennis legends who defined an era.

If you’re a fan of tennis or just love sports in general, be sure to check out other iconic moments and rivalries from the 1980s on RFGC. And let us know in the comments – who do you think was the GOAT of ’80s tennis, Navratilova or Evert?