'Wasnt Lucky Enough to Have A...' - Martina Navratilova's Open Take on What Serena Williams Lacked in Her Tennis Career

‘Wasnt Lucky Enough to Have A…’ – Martina Navratilova’s Open Take on What Serena Williams Lacked in Her Tennis Career

Recently retired, Serena Williams dominated the tennis court for nearly 25 years since making her debut in 1995. Many believed she did not have a great rival in her career for a longer period of time due to her tremendous dominance.

Back in 2021, Martina Navratilova talked about one thing Serena lacked in her career, ie a long-term rival. It is worth noting that Navratilova had the great Chris Evert as her rival on the tennis court, as they battled for more than 15 years and played 80 matches against each other.

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Martina Navratilova talked about Serena Williams’ rivals

In a podcast interview in 2021, 18-time Grand Slam winner, Navratilova talked about Serena having only Justine Henin and Venus Williams as her proper rivals on the tennis court. I think the closest would be Justine Henin would be the closest rival and, of course, her sister Venus. But she didn’t really, she wasn’t lucky enough to have a Chris, you know, and there’s nothing you can do about that,” Navratilova said.

Then she took Victoria Azarenka’s name and said, There were a lot of contenders. Azarenka looked like she was heading that way. But then that fizzled out. And then she got pregnant, she had injured and then she got pregnant. And then never, I think, beat her in the Open couple of years ago. But that was it. So, Venus and Justine, that’s it.

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 07: Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams of the United States and Chris Evert pose after the women’s singles final match on Day fourteen of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Williams defeated Wozniacki in two sets by a score of 6-3, 6-3. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Notably, Serena had rivalries with the likes of Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, and Venus Williams. However, she was a dominant force in all those rivalries. She had a head-to-head record of 18-2 against Sharapova. Against her sister Venus, she won 18 matches and lost 12. Only Henin came close to her level and went toe to toe with her; Serena had an 8-6 head-to-head record against the Belgian tennis player.

Even Azarenka didn’t stand a chance against her as she won only five times and lost 18 times. Navratilova was mentioning Chris Evert’s name, as Serena didn’t have someone like her to push her beyond the limit. Notably, Navratilova and Evert had one of the greatest rivalries in tennis, if not the greatest.

Navratilova vs Evert rivalry

As mentioned earlier, Navratilova faced Evert for 80 matches in the span of 15 years. At first, Navratilova was hardly winning anything against the American tennis player, as Evert dominated massively.

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However, Navratilova became determined to win; so, she changed her diet and physical training to become more fit. From 1980 onwards, Navratilova became truly a dominant force, as Evert was finding it hard to defeat the former Czech-American player. Before Evert retired from tennis in 1989, Navratilova had a 43-37 head-to-head record against her arch-rival, Evert.

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Despite their rivalry, they were really close friends off the tennis court. It is worth mentioning that both Evert and Navratilova won the same number of singles Grand Slam titles, ie 18.

Do you think Navratilova and Evert had the greatest rivalry in tennis? Let us know in the comments.

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