Chris Evert. Martina Navratilova. They are the two greatest women tennis players of all time. Both players won 18 singles titles. Both dominated their sport. Both….played at the same time. Evert and Navratilova were the biggest of rivals on the court, but what many don’t know is that they were and are still best friends off the court. This is Unmatched, the story of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
The film opens with some amazing stats about this underrated rivalry. 80 Matches, 60 finals. 14 Grand Slam Finals. Navratilova held the head-to-head advantage, but both players traded blows throughout their career. The two had a unique relationship. Both knew what the other was going through. They were two icons of the sport forever seen as rivals, and the biggest competition.
Unmatched is told in an interesting way. Much like the game of tennis when they were playing, Evert and Navratilova are the stars. They are the only two people that drive the film. There are no other interviews. The film simply shows a day with Evert and Navratilova, having a conversation about their amazing rivalry. It’s just like two best friends who are talking about their lives together, except that their lives were played out on the biggest stage.
Many don’t know that the two legends were former doubles partners. However, Evert admitted that she stopped playing doubles with Martina to focus on singles. Navratilova held over Evert for a time, winning 14 matches in a row. It was a tough time for Evert. She was losing to a dear friend, but she was still losing.
It was an interesting decision to have these two be just the interviews, and I understand why they made this choice. No one can understand the rivalry like these two can, because they are the only ones that were a part of it. Having said that, the film does tend to drag just a bit. As interesting as it is to hear these two talk about the rivalry so personally, I think it would have added to the film if they brought in commentator interviews, or other interviews with fellow players.
Evert openly admitted that Martina was better, saying, “Her good day was better then me on my good day”. However, the consolation prize for Evert was that she was one of the two best players in the world for her time. From 1975-1986, either Evert or Navratilova was the top ranked women’s players.
Unmatched is the classic tale of bitter rivals turned best friends. At times, the film provides amazing insight to such an interesting friendship, but can also get alittle boring at times. If they had added just a few more interviews, I think the film would have flowed together better, and been better overall. As it is, we give Unmatched 3 out of 5 stars.