Martina holds the record of 18 grand slams won in open era by a women (Photo: Twitter @WeAreTennis)

Often in sports, a lot of “professional rivalries” are present by themselves only. Fans and stakeholders are so attached to their sport; they love to see regular competitiveness. The thrill and excitement of intense matches are immensely satisfying to witness. 

Given this fact, most of the time it is the fans who make rivalries into big matters. Sometimes, both players/teams hence tend to react towards each other with a hostile approach, which is not correct. 

However, there are a few players which conduct themselves with utmost grace. No matter how intense or aggressive the match may be, such players ensure they take no hard feelings home. 

These are players of great and noble character, as they realize that the foremost important thing is playing for the betterment of the game. 

We as fans also witness this sometimes. Professional rivals on the court are in fact, great friends/acquaintances off the court.

Evert compliments her relationship with Navratilova

Chris Evert states how Martina Navratilova went from up-and-coming danger to doubles partner to foil in a record 14 Grand Slam finals to, these days, close pal. This is a very refreshing and joyful statement coming from Evert. 

That’s part of their rivalry’s evolution, from the first match at Akron, Ohio, in 1973, Evert, 18, beat Navratilova, 16, and recalls, “I felt threatened” to the record 80th and last at Chicago in 1988, which Navratilova won to cap her 43-37 edge (including 10-4 in Slam finals).

“My sister passed away in February, and Martina was there the whole day. She was at the funeral. She was at the house for food and stayed until 10 p.m. Martina and Pam Shriver were the only two players there,” Evert states in a telephone interview. 

“Martina is one of my closest friends right now. We have no competition. There’s no tension in our relationship whatsoever. It’s a freeing kind of a feeling,” Evert states. 

“I can enjoy her and her personality now and she can enjoy me.”