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Who was the better tennis player: Evert or Navratilova

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You can't go against Martina, I have to say.

I mean, I don't know the exact statistics, but between c1981 and 1985 didn't Martina beat Chris about 15 times in a row? Well to me that really shows Chris' steel to be that determined at 30 years old to overcome her nemesis...and puts Hingis in a bad light.

Even on clay, Chris was tested by Martina. In 1984 she was thrashed in the RG final, and in 1985 and 1986 it's arguable that Martina had her chances. On hard court, carpet or on grass, Chris could stretch Martina but after c1982 there was usually only one winner...until about 1987 when Martina lost her confidence.

My point is that as incredible -- and Chris' entire career personifies that word -- as Chris was, Martina was able to raise her best to a level that Chris' natural aptitude for the game would not stretch to.
 

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no contest Navratilova.
for a while they were even and then Navratilova dominated to the extend that Evert admitted being intimidated by Navratilova.
 

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Steffica Greles said:
You can't go against Martina, I have to say.

I mean, I don't know the exact statistics, but between c1981 and 1985 didn't Martina beat Chris about 15 times in a row? Well to me that really shows Chris' steel to be that determined at 30 years old to overcome her nemesis...and puts Hingis in a bad light.

Even on clay, Chris was tested by Martina. In 1984 she was thrashed in the RG final, and in 1985 and 1986 it's arguable that Martina had her chances. On hard court, carpet or on grass, Chris could stretch Martina but after c1982 there was usually only one winner...until about 1987 when Martina lost her confidence.

My point is that as incredible -- and Chris' entire career personifies that word -- as Chris was, Martina was able to raise her best to a level that Chris' natural aptitude for the game would not stretch to.
I don't agree, Steffica_Greles. What can we look at when comparing these two players? Well, Navratilova leads in their Head-to-Head, with a 43-37 edge. It should be noted, though, that the two played on Indoor Carpet more than any other surface, and that the surface was one of Navratilova's best and Evert's worst. More important is that Evert, who loved clay and dominated the surface for many years, didn't play Navratilova as much as she could have because year after year, Navratilova skipped the claycourt season. Who knows how many more matches Evert would have won had Navratilova not skipped so many claycourt tournaments?

What are other things to be considered - Navratilova has more wins (1438 to 1309), but Evert has the better winning percentage (.903 to .853). Navratilova has more weeks at #1, but it should be noted that the computer rankings didn't come out until 1975. In 1974, Evert was undoubtedly the #1 player, but there were no official rankings to state that. Who knows how many more weeks at #1 she would have had. It would've obviously been more than the number she has now. Evert won her 157th title after 289 events. When Navratilova matched her record, she had played 343 events. Evert has more consecutive years with Grand Slam titles (13 to 7). They are tied in Grand Slam titles, both with 18, but it should be noted that in at least eight Grand Slams, Evert didn't play when she was #1 in the world - three times during her monstrous streak of claycourt tournament titles, did she not play the French Open.
 

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Geisha said:
I don't agree, Steffica_Greles. What can we look at when comparing these two players? Well, Navratilova leads in their Head-to-Head, with a 43-37 edge. It should be noted, though, that the two played on Indoor Carpet more than any other surface, and that the surface was one of Navratilova's best and Evert's worst. More important is that Evert, who loved clay and dominated the surface for many years, didn't play Navratilova as much as she could have because year after year, Navratilova skipped the claycourt season. Who knows how many more matches Evert would have won had Navratilova not skipped so many claycourt tournaments?

What are other things to be considered - Navratilova has more wins (1438 to 1309), but Evert has the better winning percentage (.903 to .853). Navratilova has more weeks at #1, but it should be noted that the computer rankings didn't come out until 1975. In 1974, Evert was undoubtedly the #1 player, but there were no official rankings to state that. Who knows how many more weeks at #1 she would have had. It would've obviously been more than the number she has now. Evert won her 157th title after 289 events. When Navratilova matched her record, she had played 343 events. Evert has more consecutive years with Grand Slam titles (13 to 7). They are tied in Grand Slam titles, both with 18, but it should be noted that in at least eight Grand Slams, Evert didn't play when she was #1 in the world - three times during her monstrous streak of claycourt tournament titles, did she not play the French Open.
Yes yes, I know all that.

But at the end of the day, Navratilova won more titles, singles and doubles, had a winning record over Chris, defeated Steffi, Monica, Aranxta, Sabatini when they had all reached their peaks, and, above all else, was in my own opinion a more aggressive player. I think Chris would agree with that.

And as for the fact that Martina didn't play as often on clay -- then maybe she would have beaten Chris more often had she allowed herself more practice on the surface. Even without, she was still too good for Chris in 1984 and 1987, and not far from it in 1985 or 1986.
 

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Steffica Greles said:
I mean, I don't know the exact statistics, but between c1981 and 1985 didn't Martina beat Chris about 15 times in a row?
Actually, it was 13 times in a row...which Evert ended in the Spring of 1985 at the Virginia Slims of Florida (for all the youngin's on here :lol: the WTA tour used to be sponsored by, yes, a cigarette company)

Also, I believe had Evert won that first set tie-breaker at Wimbledon in 1984 she'd have won. :( But Chrissie never beat Navratilova in a Wimbledon Final.
 

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SelesFan70 said:
Actually, it was 13 times in a row...which Evert ended in the Spring of 1985 at the Virginia Slims of Florida (for all the youngin's on here :lol: the WTA tour used to be sponsored by, yes, a cigarette company)

Also, I believe had Evert won that first set tie-breaker at Wimbledon in 1984 she'd have won. :( But Chrissie never beat Navratilova in a Wimbledon Final.
Thanks for that...I was nearly right. ;) Must say, incredible persistence from Chris. Just legendary.
 

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cat's pajamas said:
Both classics in their own way :worship: I bow down to both!
That's how I tend to feel about it. :)

If forced to decide, I would have to give the edge to Navratilova. But Evert deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Graf and Nav, and it's too bad that she is sometimes pushed to the side in discussions of the greatest female player. :worship:
 

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MisterQ said:
That's how I tend to feel about it. :)

If forced to decide, I would have to give the edge to Navratilova. But Evert deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Graf and Nav, and it's too bad that she is sometimes pushed to the side in discussions of the greatest female player. :worship:


Too true, except by tennis fans who should know better!

The only reason I give a slight edge to Navratilova (and I much preferred Chris's style of play) is her doubles record, which can't be discounted. Martina was the greatest grass-court player of all time (Wimbledon bears that out), Chris was the greatest clay-court player of all time (the French Open and a five year winning streak on the surface bear that out). Both were absolutely superb champions!
 

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Well, guess who I have voted for. :lol: Not that it will do her any good of course, because everyone thinks that the matches they played against each other in the 1982-1984 period are the most important in tennis history. The years that Chris had the upper hand never seem to count.

I consider both players as equals, but (I admit) me being a fan made me vote for Chris. A choice that can be justified by a career that is second to no ones (including Navratilova's). In fact, Chris Evert played great tennis for a longer time than anyone else in the open era. :worship:

I've had my say, now the rest of you can continue to sing the praises of the mighty Navratilova. :help:
 

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Geisha said:
I don't agree, Steffica_Greles. What can we look at when comparing these two players? Well, Navratilova leads in their Head-to-Head, with a 43-37 edge. It should be noted, though, that the two played on Indoor Carpet more than any other surface, and that the surface was one of Navratilova's best and Evert's worst. More important is that Evert, who loved clay and dominated the surface for many years, didn't play Navratilova as much as she could have because year after year, Navratilova skipped the claycourt season. Who knows how many more matches Evert would have won had Navratilova not skipped so many claycourt tournaments?

What are other things to be considered - Navratilova has more wins (1438 to 1309), but Evert has the better winning percentage (.903 to .853). Navratilova has more weeks at #1, but it should be noted that the computer rankings didn't come out until 1975. In 1974, Evert was undoubtedly the #1 player, but there were no official rankings to state that. Who knows how many more weeks at #1 she would have had. It would've obviously been more than the number she has now. Evert won her 157th title after 289 events. When Navratilova matched her record, she had played 343 events. Evert has more consecutive years with Grand Slam titles (13 to 7). They are tied in Grand Slam titles, both with 18, but it should be noted that in at least eight Grand Slams, Evert didn't play when she was #1 in the world - three times during her monstrous streak of claycourt tournament titles, did she not play the French Open.
:) :yeah:
 

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Reaaly, there is barely anything in it. Although, I have to slightly lean more towards Chris, and the reason is that Chris won ten less events than Martina, and the same amount of Slams(18), but played 5 less years. Also, I think that Martina had a reasonable draw at Wimbledon 2004, but lost to clay-courter Dulko.
 

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Chrissie-fan said:
Well, guess who I have voted for. :lol: Not that it will do her any good of course, because everyone thinks that the matches they played against each other in the 1982-1984 period are the most important in tennis history. The years that Chris had the upper hand never seem to count.

I consider both players as equals, but (I admit) me being a fan made me vote for Chris. A choice that can be justified by a career that is second to no ones (including Navratilova's). In fact, Chris Evert played great tennis and won tournaments for a longer time than anyone else in the open era. :worship:

I've had my say, now the rest of you can continue to sing the praises of the mighty Navratilova and keep :smash: Chris in comparison. :help:
They are indeed both phenomenally great players and champions and have such complementary records that it is difficult to separate them. Martina ruled at Wimbledon and Chris ruled in Paris, yet both demonstrated that they were able to beat their rival on her home surface - Martina at RG in 84 & 87, Chris at Wimbledon in 76 and 80. Martina had the edge in their h2h on all surfaces except clay but on cement the score is 9-7, i.e. just one match. Chris had a winning annual h2h over Martina 73-78 but apart from 1980, when they were tied, Martina then had the edge until their last match in 88.

Their 18 majors wins each is probably an under-representation of their talent; Chris missed the French Open 76, 77 and 78 and the Australian 75, 76, 77 (x2), 78, 79 and 80, when she was at or near the top, and Martina missed Roland Garros 76, 77, 78, 79, 80 and Australia 76, 77(x2), 78 and 79. These events were not missed because of illness, injury or burn-out but because at that time they were not the "musts" of the season that they are now. Of course, others, including Goolagong, Wade and Austin, would also have been challengers if these events had been up to full strength but C & M would have been among the favourites.

Both women, along with Steffi and Margaret Court, achieved enough during their stellar careers to be considered among the very best of all time. Beyond that, it's a matter of personal preference and affinity but what makes these two so special is that they achieved what they did with the other as a contemporary rival.
 
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I guess all this only goes to show what a big mistake it was from Chris not to play the French in 1976-1978. If she had done that she almost certainly would have won the event 10 times. She could have won one or more more Australian Open's in the 70's as well (I'm more conservative here, because Goolagong who won in the years I'm talking about was no pushover). Anyway, add four or five more slams that were hers for the taking to her already impressive total of 18 and I think this poll could have turned out quite differently.
 

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Andy T said:
They are indeed both phenomenally great players and champions and have such complementary records that it is difficult to separate them. Martina ruled at Wimbledon and Chris ruled in Paris, yet both demonstrated that they were able to beat their rival on her home surface - Martina at RG in 84 & 87, Chris at Wimbledon in 76 and 80. Martina had the edge in their h2h on all surfaces except clay but on cement the score is 9-7, i.e. just one match. Chris had a winning annual h2h over Martina 73-78 but apart from 1980, when they were tied, Martina then had the edge until their last match in 88.

Their 18 majors wins each is probably an under-representation of their talent; Chris missed the French Open 76, 77 and 78 and the Australian 75, 76, 77 (x2), 78, 79 and 80, when she was at or near the top, and Martina missed Roland Garros 76, 77, 78, 79, 80 and Australia 76, 77(x2), 78 and 79. These events were not missed because of illness, injury or burn-out but because at that time they were not the "musts" of the season that they are now. Of course, others, including Goolagong, Wade and Austin, would also have been challengers if these events had been up to full strength but C & M would have been among the favourites.

Both women, along with Steffi and Margaret Court, achieved enough during their stellar careers to be considered among the very best of all time. Beyond that, it's a matter of personal preference and affinity but what makes these two so special is that they achieved what they did with the other as a contemporary rival.
Agreed. I think part of the reason why some consider Martina the better player is simply a matter of physical appearance. Martina, the agressive serve and volleyer, the no nonsense lady who wears her emotions on her sleeves vs Chris, the feminine baseliner who looks like the modest girl next door. If you didn't know them and you had to guess which one of them was a professional athlete everyone would pick Martina. Both of them were killers on court, but in the case of Martina it was more obvious, while Chris did away with the opposition "quietly."
 

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Chrissie-fan said:
Agreed. I think part of the reason why some consider Martina the better player is simply a matter of physical appearance. Martina, the agressive serve and volleyer, the no nonsense lady who wears her emotions on her sleeves vs Chris, the feminine baseliner who looks like the modest girl next door. If you didn't know them and you had to guess which one of them was a professional athlete everyone would pick Martina. Both of them were killers on court, but in the case of Martina it was more obvious, while Chris did away with the opposition "quietly."
Yep. I don't think anyone - least of all Chris - would argue that Martina was the better physical athlete of the two but by the same token, Chris was the better "mental athlete".

Another factor is time. Chris' dominant years came before Martina's and you need to be in your late 30s/early 40s to remember that period. After Martina, Steffi came along and also established her supremacy over a sustained period of time, so anyone under 30 will have Steffi as the reference point. Before Chris, it was Margaret Court. The important point for me is that all of these women left their mark on a period in tennis history and precise weeks at #1, titles, majors, etc are merely approximate measurements of that.
 

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martina #1 ever :worship:
chris # 2 ever :worship:
 
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The key for me in this thread is "tennis player", and I thank Geisha for being simple and to the point with couching the question in a tennis playing context. In my opinion, the answer has nothing to do with who you like more, or who had a streak against the other or even who won more titles and defeated their rival where and how. It has to do with the tennis production. If we focus on this question, Martina Navratilova used and nearly perfected more aspects of the game of tennis than Chris Evert, and she was a more naturally gifted tennis player, hands down.
 
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