Every tennis player has a place where they just seem to play well. It can be a court in your neighborhood park or at your local club. If, however, the place you play best is at one of the world’s most prestigious tennis venues and your best play just happens to take place during the biggest tennis tournament in that nation, then you must be Martina Navratilova and the place must be Wimbledon.
For decades Martina quite literally ruled the courts of Wimbledon. While playing there intimidated many players, it seemed to ignite her to play better, push harder and win more. If she spends any time looking back on her career, I would imagine she looks back on the courts of Wimbledon with a smile.
Her first victory at Wimbledon was accomplished with as partner. She and Chris Evert (who would later go on to become her nemesis) won a doubles tournament there in 1976. She picked up her first single’s win at the tournament in 1978. The rest, of course, is tennis history. Some of Martina’s career highlights, at Wimbledon and beyond, include:
• 19 Consecutive Grand Slam Women’s Single Tournament Semifinal Appearances (no one else has bested this record)
• Won Thee Grand Slam Singles Events in Three Decades (Wimbledon 1978-1990)
• Six Consecutive Wimbledon & US Open Titles (1983 – 1984)
• Six Consecutive Singles Titles (Wimbledon 1982- 1990)
• Nine Consecutive Singles Titles (Wimbledon 1978 – 1994)
• Twelve Singles Finals Total (Wimbledon 1978 – 1994)
The ability to not only rise to a challenge, but to face it down and overcome it sets great players apart from the merely good ones. Martina Navratilova’s track record at one of the world’s most honored and prestigious tennis events proved her to be one of the greatest players to ever play the sport.
The epic battles fought at Wimbledon between two greatest ever women tennis players are enough to create a rivalry, as much between their fans as between the players. One of the greatest rivalries in the tournaments history, at least in the opinion of many, was the ongoing feud for dominance between famous female tennis players Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert (Lloyd). Evert was a great player on the baseline, while Martina had what many consider the finest serve-volley game in the sport’s history. Their personalities even seemed to conflict. Still, both were players of the highest caliber and those privileged to watch these two tennis titans wage their on-court battles got more than their money’s worth.
The two played against one another eight times beginning in 1973 and running through 1988. The rivalry, if it had a beginning, began at Wimbledon in 1978. She won her first single’s title there, taking that honorific away from Chris Evert. In the 80s, their rivalry became a focal point of the world of professional tennis. If the two were in a tournament, the hottest tickets were those that would seat you at one of their matches. Their on-court sparring and off court sniping, instead of driving away fans, seemed to intrigue them. The fan base for tennis, overall, underwent major growth during the height of the greatest tennis Evert-Navratilova rivalry.
In the course of their rivalry, the two faced off in fourteen Grand Slam finals, and Evert lost ten of them. Navratilova holds a 47-37 lead over Evert for their total count. Martina, best on grass and Evert better on clay, often seemed to be victimized by the playing surfaces of the tournaments. While Martina did wallop Chris 5-0 in Wimbledon (grass), it is important to remember that Chris managed to hold her own in other arenas using grass or artificial surfaces. In those instances, they tied at five all.
While they were often at odds on the court, and were perhaps not the best of friends off of them, the two had a mutual respect and admiration for one another. Their rivalry, and the media attention it received, inspired the aggressive style and dominant play of many of today’s great young women tennis players. So, in a way, we as tennis lovers ended up being the real winners.
When they came to Wimbledon in 1988, famous female tennis player Martina Navratilova arrived on the grass courts riding a wave of six consecutive women’s titles. Then, of course, she had also beaten the best tennis playerSteffi Graff the year before. While Graff carried a number one ranking, it still seemed, to many fans, to be a foregone conclusion that Martina would win again.
Martina did win the first set, 7-5 and her fans were ecstatic while Steffi’s faithful following were beginning to wonder if the young German player were under some sort of Wimbledon curse. After all, Steffi had just beaten the greatest ever tennis player Chris Evert at the Australian Open and then gone on to win the French Open, as well. Still, here was Martina Navratilova, winning the first two games of the second set and many of Graff’s fans began to expect a repeat of her previous year’s loss. Then, the tides took an abrupt turn. Steffi seemed to wake up and began to put her legendary forehand and that backhand slice to work. She won six games in a row and took the set 6-2.
Then, the two faced off for a final set. Graff shot out with a 5-1 lead over Martina who took a 40-love lead but with a pair of double-faults, the score came up deuce. Steffi then took the game, the set and the match. She had dethroned Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon and, unknowingly, yet another of tennis’ infamous rivalries had begun.
Famous German female tennis player Graff would repeat her win over Martina in the 1989 final and go on to win seven Wimbledon singles titles of her own. She never managed to equal Martina’s unmatched success at the prestigious British tournament, and the rivalry faded as the two drifted slowly towards retirement. Still, while it lasted, it made for some great tennis and matches between the two were always packed to capacity by fans that wanted to see what two of the greatest women players in history facing off was really like.
Women, with their sporty and ravishing looks, dressed in beautiful outfits have been playing on Garros since 1897. Though it’s hard to play on clay, women came out to be really strong and have been setting records on Garros. Women tennis stars add up colors to the clay court by their ravishing and vivid outfits which are always a treat to watch.
Like men, women tennis players have set the records on Garros by winning the most single and consecutive single titles as well. Players like Henin, Steffi and Chris Evert have shown absolutely amazing tennis skills and incredible wins on the clay court. Let’s have a flashback in these two categories.
Winner of most Women’s singles titles on Garros
Era before 1968
The legendary player Suzanne Lenglen claimed six singles titles of Garros.
Era after 1967
Chris Evert broke the record of Suzanne by wining seven single titles. No one in the present time is even close to her record.
Winner of most consecutive women’s singles titles
Era before 1968
It’s again the legendary player Suzanne Lenglen who won the consecutive Roland Garros singles titles from 1920-1923.
Era after 1967
Justine Henin, the present clay queen, has been able to win three consecutive Garros titles from year 2005-2007. Henin has immense potential on clay and is surely going to make use of her caliber to win the maximum Garros titles.
Presently, the players who have the potential to lead on clay are Henin and Kuznetsova. Keep watching the Garros event every year to know how far these ladies will have gone in the event.