What matters isnt how well you play
when you're playing well, what matters
is how well you play when you're playing badly.
Quite an intriguing little sentence! Clearly when you're doing well, you're obviously on top of your game and everything is going well for you, but if everything is falling down around your ears, how you cope with that says more about you and your skills.
I suppose that, if you just shrug, throw your hands in the air and give up then that doesn't say much for your sticking power. And if you start panicking then you don't have the ability to stay calm and sort out the problem. Whereas, if you can rally the troops and see your way past the problem then that matters more than being able to keep things flowing smoothly when nothing is going wrong anyway.
The trouble is that people cope in different ways; some may act like headless chickens, but at the end of the day all is back to normal, some may turn into dictators and demand solutions, but again the end result is normality (with a few alienated staff!), some may carry on as though nothing is happening, but behind the scenes everything is going nineteen-to-the-dozen (brings to mind that image of the serene swan with feet paddling madly underneath!).
So, does the end result matter more than how you got there? I think that what Navratilova is saying is that "playing well" also matters, for if you achieve what you want but look like an idiot or a bully in doing so, then that sticks too, possibly more so than the end result.
So, there you go, I thought that was an interesting quote; and I hope that not too many cliches appeared in this post - they kept popping up all over the place and I had a battle on my hands to keep them at bay! ;-)