“Maybe one of the problems was that, when I went into matches with her, I was kind of negative because I felt like she was always the favorite,” Evert said.
But she has another explanation for the loss to Navratilova in ’78, especially after she let a 4-2 lead in the third set slip away and lost 12 of the match’s last 13 points.
“I have to laugh, but that was the Wimbledon I fell in love with John Lloyd,” Evert said of her first husband, a British player whom she married in 1979 and divorced in 1987. “I was love struck, we were dating and we went out every night. I was really distracted and I wasn’t fully engaged or focused on winning Wimbledon. Sorry, Martina.”
Navratilova won Wimbledon again the following year. Coaxed by a plea from the Duchess of Kent, the Czechoslovakian government issued a travel visa to Navratilova’s mother, Jana, who arrived on the eve of the tournament to watch her daughter play. It would be several more years before the whole family, including a sister, Jana, would be reunited.
Navratilova remains involved in tennis as a commentator, and will work for Tennis Channel and the BBC at Wimbledon. She spoke out earlier this year when a British documentary on gender equity revealed that John McEnroe, also a commentator at BBC, earned 10 times more she did during last year’s tournament. The BBC said their workloads were not equitable, but has agreed to close the gap this year.
“They made things right, I’m happy and I hope it will be better for a lot of other women as well,” said Navratilova, who declined to discuss how much more she will be paid this year above the 15,000 pounds she earned last year. “This was never personally about me against John. He’s such a proponent of women, and I think he got blindsided.”
Navratilova has been outspoken, especially on Twitter, on many issues, criticizing President Donald Trump, the Republican Party, anti-gay sentiments and cruelty to both animals and people.