Fierce Sporting Rivalry of Two Great Friends

Greatest sporting rivalry on court but the best friends in real life!! Every tennis lover who is following tennis since long, remember Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. It is a tale of Fierce Sporting Rivalry of Two Great Friends…

The first women tennis player, I saw on television was Chris Evert and later Martina. Few days ago I was watching a documentary on ESPN – UNMATCHED Directed and Produced by Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters Co-Produced by Hannah Storm. It was pleasure watching this video.

ESPN – UNMATCHED

The first time Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova stepped onto a tennis court together, the world scarcely noticed. Only a few hundred spectators saw the pert 18-year-old beat the scrappy 16-year-old Czech in 1973. “I remember that she was fat,” Evert recalled. “She was very emotional on the court, whining if she didn’t feel she was playing well. But I remember thinking, if she loses weight, we’re all in trouble.” Said Navratilova, “My goal was for her to remember my name.”

Eighty matches later — amid the extraordinary growth of women’s tennis — Evert not only remembered, but became a tried and true friend and confidante, remarkable considering the two appeared to be polar opposites in upbringing, life styles and personal relationships. Through a series of personal conversations, filmmakers Nancy Stern Winters and Lisa Lax, along with producer Hannah Storm, tell the story of one of the greatest one-on-one sports rivalries and capture these two extraordinary athletes’ views on tennis and an ever-changing world.

Director’s Words

According to the Director/s of the film – No two athletes have met in as many matches or world championships as Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. While Ali fought Frazier all of 3 times and Borg faced McEnroe a total of 14 times, Evert and Navratilova met on the tennis court 80 times over the course of 16 years. The individual narratives of these two star athletes who carried women’s tennis through the 1970s and 1980s could stand on their own as significant sports stories in the past 30 years. However, what is truly amazing is how two fierce competitors who provided fans with some of the most memorable moments in the history of tennis could simultaneously forge such a strong and lasting friendship, bonding them to this day.

Their performance standards and personal convictions influenced female athletes for years to come, especially us. For 12 consecutive years, from 1975 to 1986, either Evert or Navratilova finished the season ranked No. 1 in the world. We first picked up tennis rackets in 1975 and continued playing competitively through college in 1986; Nancy emulating Martina in her aggressive style, and Lisa inspired by Chrissie’s quiet persistent determination. Since our childhood we have been intrigued and fascinated by these two women, and we cherish the opportunity to explore their historic impact on the world of sports through the scope of their rivalry.

This story is told through their eyes only — as it’s never been told before. Chris and Martina reveal details of the intense experiences they shared while playing with and against each other for so many years. On the court, their battles were fought hard, but the even more remarkable story is about what happened off the court as they formed an unlikely friendship. As Martina once said in the midst of her storied tennis career; she looks forward to the time when she can reminisce over a glass of wine with her dear friend about the good old days. That day has come.

Watch & Admire

I really loved this film! I loved the way directors allowed them to tell the stories of their competitions and friendship! It was an excellent way to relay to us who they were to each other. I always loved Chris and wanted her to win every time she played Martina. I really had no idea they were good friends!

Can you believe it, 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. They both have won 18 Grand Slam singles titles each and their statics are more or less similar. But, they different, Martina have superiority on grass courts while Chris was good on clay. They are totally different, Martina more emotional whereas Chris was strong and stubborn.

This film is real treat to watch and catch up with those old memories of famous on court battles. Absolutely, loved the film admired their friendship. A must watch film!!  Visit the link: http://www.espn.com/30for30/film?page=unmatched

Fierce Sporting Rivalry of Two Great Friends

Image Courtesy: ESPN

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