"He literally said tennis" - Martina Navratilova defends friend Chris Evert over Novak Djokovic's recent comments about his rivalry with Nadal

Novak Djokovic
Martina Navratilova on Chris Evert and Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic recently claimed that he and Rafael Nadal have played the most matches in their rivalry in the history of the sport. But his choice of words didn't go down well with everyone.

The Serb emphasized the importance of having a rival like the Spaniard in his career.

"Everyone is my rival, whoever I step out on court against. But when it comes to who is my biggest rival, then it’s Nadal without a doubt. He is still there. We played more matches against each other than any other rivalry in the history of tennis. And I hope that we will play many more times, it’s exciting for us and for tennis," said Djokovic.

The stat, particularly the use of the words 'history of tennis', was challenged by a fan on Twitter, and former World No. 1 and 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert agreed with the correction. Evert played against her friend and rival Martina Navratilova a record 80 times during their career.


Evert was criticized by some fans for claiming that Djokovic made an error, as they believe Djokovic meant 'men's tennis' rather than the whole of tennis. But Navratilova came to Evert's aid, pointing out that Djokovic clearly said tennis, not men's tennis, when commenting on his rivalry with Nadal.

"He literally said tennis," said Navratilova while shutting down Evert's critic.

"I am eager for tennis and competition; I'm hungry for trophies" - Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic of Team Europe celebrates a point during the singles match between Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Laver Cup 2022 - Day Three
Novak Djokovic of Team Europe celebrates a point during the singles match between Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Laver Cup 2022 - Day Three

In a recent interview with Sportal, Novak Djokovic mentioned that his focus has shifted towards his family and kids. But he remains eager to compete, fight and challenge for trophies in tennis.

"In recent years, I have other priorities. I spent more time with the children. I have mentally adapted to such a life, but my body is grateful because I managed to keep fit. I still like to train. Every day I do the usual routines that I have. I am eager for tennis and competition. I'm hungry for trophies," said the former World No. 1.

He also revealed that it was far from 'easy' for him to sit at home and not play in Grand Slams in recent times, but that he had accepted it as a consequence of his decision not to take the vaccine.

"I have maintained the top level of tennis by playing in the biggest tournaments. It was not easy for me to watch Grand Slam matches without participating. However, I had to accept such a situation. I made a decision, and these are its consequences," said Novak Djokovic.

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Edited by Keshav Gopalan
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