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Martina Navratilova
Navratilova-PragueOpen2006-05 cropped.jpg
Country Czechoslovakia
United States
Residence Sarasota, Florida
Date of birth October 18, 1956 (1956-10-18) (age 53)
Place of birth Prague, Czechoslovakia
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 65.5 kg (144 lb; 10.31 st)
Turned pro 1975
Retired 2006
Plays Left; One-handed backhand
Career prize money US$21,626,089
(5th in all-time rankings)
Int. Tennis HOF 2000 (member page)
Singles
Career record 1,442–219 (86.8%)
Career titles 167 (all-time record for men or women)
Highest ranking No. 1 (July 10, 1978)
Grand Slam results
Australian Open W (1981, 1983, 1985)
French Open W (1982, 1984)
Wimbledon W (1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990)
US Open W (1983, 1984, 1986, 1987)
Major tournaments
WTA Championships W (1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986(1), 1986(2))
Doubles
Career record 747–143
Career titles 177 (all-time record for men or women)
Highest ranking No. 1 (September 10, 1984)
Australian Open W (1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989)
French Open W (1975, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)
Wimbledon W (1976, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986)
US Open W (1977, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990)
Major doubles tournaments
WTA Championships W (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986(2), 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991)
Mixed Doubles
Career record
Career titles 10
Grand Slam mixed doubles results
Australian Open W (2003)
French Open W (1974, 1985)
Wimbledon W (1985, 1993, 1995, 2003)
US Open W (1985, 1987, 2006)
Last updated on: July 5, 2009.
1986 Paraguay stamp

Martina Navrátilová (born October 18, 1956, in Prague, Czechoslovakia) is a Czech-American tennis player. A former World No. 1. Billie Jean King said about Navratilova in 2006, "She's the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who's ever lived."[1]

Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women's doubles titles (an all-time record), and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She reached the Wimbledon singles final 12 times, including 9 consecutive years from 1982 through 1990, and won the women's singles title at Wimbledon a record 9 times. She and King each won 20 Wimbledon titles, an all-time record. Navratilova is one of just three women to have accomplished a career Grand Slam in singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles (called the Grand Slam "boxed set"). She holds the open era record for most singles titles (167) and doubles titles (177). She recorded the longest winning streak in the open era (74 consecutive matches) and three of the six longest winning streaks in the women's open era. Navratilova, Margaret Court, and Maureen Connolly share the record for the most consecutive Grand Slam singles titles (six). Navratilova reached 11 consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, second all-time to Steffi Graf's 13. In women's doubles, Navratilova and Pam Shriver won 109 consecutive matches and won all four Grand Slam titles in 1984. They also tied Louise Brough Clapp's and Margaret Osborne duPont's record of 20 Grand Slam women's doubles titles as a team.

Originally from Czechoslovakia, she was stripped of her citizenship[2] when, in 1975 at the age of 18, she asked the United States for political asylum and was granted temporary residency.[3] At the time, Navratilova was being told by the Czechoslovakian Sports Federation that she was becoming too Americanized and that she should go back to school and make tennis secondary.[4] Navratilova became a US citizen in 1981, but on January 9, 2008, she had her Czech citizenship restored.[5] She stated she has not renounced her American citizenship nor does she plan to do so and that the restoration of her Czech citizenship was not politically motivated.[6][7] On the other hand, Navratilova was quoted in 2007 as being ashamed of the US under President George W. Bush.[8][9]

Navratilova is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy.

Contents

Tennis career

Navratilova was born Martina Šubertová in 1956. Her parents divorced when she was three, and in 1962 her mother Jana married Miroslav Navrátil, who became her first tennis coach. Martina then took the name of her stepfather (adding the feminine suffix "ová"), thus becoming Martina Navrátilová (pronounced Cs-Martina Navratilova.ogg [ˈmarcɪna ˈnavraːcɪlovaː] ).

In 1972 at the age of 15, Navratilova won the Czechoslovakia national tennis championship. In 1973, aged 16, she made her debut on the United States Lawn Tennis Association professional tour but did not turn professional until 1975. She won her first professional singles title in Orlando, Florida in 1974 at the age of 17. Navratilova first lived with former Vaudeville actress, Frances Dewey Wormser, and her husband, Morton Wormser, a major tennis enthusiast, when she first moved to the United States.[10]

Navratilova was the runner-up at two Grand Slam singles tournaments in 1975. She lost in the final of the Australian Open to Evonne Goolagong Cawley and in the final of the French Open to Chris Evert. After losing to Evert in the semifinals of that year's US Open, the 18-year-old Navratilova went to the offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in New York City and informed them that she wished to defect from Communist Czechoslovakia. Within a month, she received a green card.

Navratilova won her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 1978, where she defeated Evert in three sets in the final and captured the World No. 1 ranking for the first time. She successfully defended her Wimbledon title in 1979, again beating Evert in the final, and retained her World No. 1 ranking.

In 1981, Navratilova won her third Grand Slam singles title by defeating Evert in the final of the Australian Open. Navratilova also reached the final of the US Open, where she lost a third set tiebreak to Tracy Austin. Navratilova won both Wimbledon and the French Open in 1982.

Following adoption of basketball player Nancy Lieberman's exercise plan and using graphite racquets, Navratilova became the most dominant player in women's tennis. After losing in the fourth round of the first Grand Slam event of 1983, the French Open, she captured the year's three remaining Grand Slam titles (the Australian Open was held in December at that time). Navratilova's loss at the French Open was her only singles defeat during that year, during which she established an 86–1 record. Her winning percentage was the best ever for a professional tennis player. During 1982, 1983, and 1984, Navratilova lost a total of only six singles matches.

Navratilova won the 1984 French Open, thus holding all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously. Her accomplishment was declared a "Grand Slam" by Philippe Chatrier, president of the International Tennis Federation. Many tennis observers, however, insisted that it was not a true Grand Slam because the titles had not been won in a single calendar year. Navratilova extended her Grand Slam singles tournament winning streak to a record-equalling six following wins at Wimbledon and the US Open. She entered the 1984 Australian Open with a chance of winning all four titles in the same year. In the semifinals, however, Helena Suková ended Navratilova's 74-match winning streak (a record for a professional) 1–6, 6–3, 7–5.

The left-handed Navratilova won all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles in 1984, partnering right-handed Pam Shriver, a tall and talented player whose most noted stroke was a slice forehand, a shot virtually unheard of in the game today. This was part of a record 109-match winning streak that the pair achieved between 1983 and 1985. (Navratilova was ranked the World No. 1 doubles player for a period of over three years in the 1980s.)

From 1985 through 1987, Navratilova reached the women's singles final at all 11 Grand Slam tournaments held during those three years, winning six of them. From 1982 through 1990, she reached the Wimbledon final nine consecutive times. She reached the US Open final five consecutive times from 1983 through 1987 and appeared in the French Open final five out of six years from 1982 through 1987.

17-year old German player Steffi Graf emerged on the scene in 1987 when she beat Navratilova in the final of the French Open. Navratilova defeated Graf in the 1987 Wimbledon and US Open finals (and at the US Open became only the third player in the open era to win the women's singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles at the same event). Graf's consistent play throughout 1987, however, allowed her to obtain the World No. 1 ranking before the end of the year. Graf eventually broke Navratilova's records of 156 consecutive weeks and 331 total weeks as the World No. 1 singles player but did not break Navratilova's record 167 singles titles as Graf reached 107. In 1988, Graf won all four Grand Slam singles titles, beating Navratilova 5–7, 6–2, 6–1 in the Wimbledon final along the way. In 1989, Graf and Navratilova met in the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open, with Graf winning both encounters in three sets. Despite the age difference between the two players, Navratilova won 9 of the 18 career singles matches with Graf and 5 of the 9 Grand Slam singles matches with her. At age 34, Navratilova defeated Graf the last time they played in a Grand Slam event in the semifinals of the 1991 US Open 7–6(2), 6–7(6), 6–4.

Navratilova and Sukova playing doubles

Navratilova's final Grand Slam singles triumph was in 1990. In the final, the 33-year old Navratilova swept Zina Garrison 6–4, 6–1 to claim a record-breaking ninth Wimbledon singles crown. Though that was her last Grand Slam singles title, Navratilova reached two additional Grand Slam singles finals during the remainder of career. In 1991, she lost in the US Open final to the new World No. 1 Monica Seles after defeating Graf in a semifinal. And then in 1994, at the age of 37, Navratilova reached the Wimbledon final, where she lost in three sets to Conchita Martínez. Soon after, she retired from full-time competition on the singles tour. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000.

In 2000, Navratilova returned to the tour to play doubles events, while rarely playing singles. In her first singles performance in eight years, at Eastbourne in 2002, she beat World No. 22 Tatiana Panova before losing in the next round to Daniela Hantuchová in three sets. In 2003, she won the mixed doubles titles at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, partnering Leander Paes. This made her the oldest ever Grand Slam champion (aged 46 years, 8 months). The Australian Open victory made her the third player in history to complete a "boxed set" of Grand Slam titles by winning the singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles at all four Grand Slam events. The Wimbledon win allowed her to equal Billie Jean King's record of 20 Wimbledon titles (in singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles combined) and extended her overall number of Grand Slam titles to 58 (second only to Margaret Court, who won 62). Despite being criticized for receiving a wildcard, Navratilova won a singles match in straight sets at the first round of Wimbledon in 2004, aged 47 years and 8 months, to make her the oldest player to win a professional singles match in the open era. She then lost her second round match with Gisela Dulko in three sets.

On July 6, 2006, Navratilova played her last career match at Wimbledon, losing in the third round of mixed doubles to the eventual titleists, Israel's Andy Ram and Russia's Vera Zvonareva. Earlier that day, Navratilova lost her women's doubles quarterfinal match against Chinese fourth seeds Zi Yan and Jie Zheng, also the eventual titleists. Navratilova capped off her career by winning the mixed doubles title at the 2006 US Open with Bob Bryan, her 41st Grand Slam doubles title (31 in women's doubles and 10 in mixed doubles) and 177th overall. At the time, she was just over a month away from her 50th birthday. The only Grand Slam mixed doubles title that eluded her since her return was the French Open.

Navratilova won 167 top-level singles titles (more than any other player in the open era) and 177 doubles titles. Her last title in women's doubles came on August 21, 2006, at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada, where she partnered with Nadia Petrova. Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles: 9 at Wimbledon, 4 at the US Open, 3 at the Australian Open, and 2 at the French Open. Her overall record in 67 Grand Slam singles events was 306–49 .862 (120–14 at Wimbledon, 89–17 at the US Open, 51–11 at the French Open, and 46–7 at the Australian Open). She won at least one tour event for 21 consecutive years and won the singles and doubles at the same event a record 84 times. Her career singles match win total of 1,442 is the most during the open era.

In September 1992, Navratilova played Jimmy Connors in the third Battle of the Sexes tennis match at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Connors was allowed only one serve per point and Navratilova was allowed to hit into half the doubles court. Connors won 7–5, 6–2.

Personal life

In her autobiography, Being Myself,[11] Navratilova says that she had had romantic crushes on teachers of both sexes and, later, felt strongly attracted to other female tennis players.

In 1981, shortly after being granted U.S. citizenship, Navratilova came out publicly about her sexual orientation. During the early 1980s, she was involved with author Rita Mae Brown. From 1984 to 1991, Navratilova had a long-term relationship with partner Judy Nelson. Their split in 1991 included a much-publicized legal wrangle. Navratilova was featured in a WITA (Women's International Tennis Association) calendar, shot by Jean Renard with her Wimbledon trophies and Nelson's children in the background.

In 1985, Navratilova released an autobiography, co-written with New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey, entitled Martina in the U.S. and Being Myself in the rest of the world.[12] She had earlier co-authored a tennis instruction book with Mary Carillo in 1982 entitled Tennis My Way.[13] She later wrote three mystery novels with Liz Nickles: The Total Zone (1994),[14] Breaking Point (1996),[15] and Killer Instinct (1997).[16] Navratilova's most recent literary effort was a health and fitness book entitled Shape Your Self, which came out in 2006.[17]

Activism and politics

Navratilova and Mark Tewksbury read the Declaration of Montreal at the opening ceremonies of the World Outgames.

When not playing tennis, Navratilova is involved with various charities that benefit animal rights, underprivileged children, and gay rights. She filed a lawsuit against Amendment 2, a 1992 ballot proposition in Colorado designed to deny gays and lesbians legal protection from discrimination. In the same year, she spoke before the National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights.

In 2000, she was the recipient of National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian activist/lobbying group.[18]

A pescetarian, Navratilova has appeared in ad campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In an April 2006 interview, she said she had recently begun eating fish again because she found it hard to get enough protein while on the road.[19]

She has spoken out on a number of volatile political issues, including tort/litigation reform, but perhaps her most consistent theme—aside from gay and lesbian rights—has been her unstinting opposition to Stalinism, and unrepentant opposition to the former Eastern Bloc power structure that she believes compelled her to flee her native Czechoslovakia. For example, on a recent segment of the Leonard Lopate Show in which she was promoting her new fitness training book-she denounced the Soviet Union's control over Czechoslovakia, maintaining that she refuses to speak Russian to this day because of the Soviet Union's former hegemony over Eastern Europe. When questioned by the host about her fellow Czechs' reaction to her defection she averred that they welcomed it, and that their hostility was directed towards the Stalinist regime in power, not her.

"Whenever people go into politics and they try to say that Communism was a good thing, I say, 'Go ahead and live in a Communist country then, if you think it's so great.'"[20]

Navratilova was a guest on CNN's Connie Chung Tonight show on July 17, 2002. During the show, Chung quoted a German newspaper which quoted Navratilova as saying:

"The most absurd part of my escape from the unjust system is that I have exchanged one system that suppresses free opinion for another. The Republicans in the U.S. manipulate public opinion and sweep controversial issues under the table. It's depressing. Decisions in America are based solely on the question of how much money will come out of it and not on the questions of how much health, morals or environment suffer as a result."

Navratilova said that the remarks referred to what she perceived as a trend of centralization of government power and a loss of personal freedom. In the discussion that followed, Chung questioned, "Can I be honest with you? I can tell you that when I read this, I have to tell you that I thought it was un-American, unpatriotic. I wanted to say, go back to Czechoslovakia. You know, if you don't like it here, this a country that gave you so much, gave you the freedom to do what you want." Navratilova responded, "And I'm giving it back. This is why I speak out. When I see something that I don't like, I'm going to speak out because you can do that here. And again, I feel there are too many things happening that are taking our rights away." She went on to say that athletes have a responsibility to speak out when things aren't right.[21]

Career statistics

Open era records

Grand Slam tournament Years Record accomplished Player tied
1983 Wimbledon - 1988 Australian Open 1983-1988 19 consecutive Grand Slam women's singles tournament semifinals Stands alone(1)
Wimbledon 1978-1990 Winner of a Grand Slam singles event in three decades Stands alone
Wimbledon – US Open 1983-1984 6 consecutive Grand Slam singles tournament titles Margaret Court
French Open 1984-1987 4 consecutive singles finals Chris Evert
Steffi Graf
Wimbledon 1982-1987 6 consecutive singles titles Stands alone
Wimbledon 1982-1990 9 consecutive singles finals Stands alone
Wimbledon 1978-1994 12 singles finals overall Stands alone
Wimbledon 1978-1990 9 singles titles overall Stands alone
U.S. Open 1987 Won singles, doubles and mixed doubles at same Grand Slam event Doris Hart
Margaret Court

(1)Chris Evert reached 34 non-consecutive Grand Slam singles semifinals from the 1971 US Open through the 1983 French Open, although she did not play 14 Grand Slam singles tournaments during that time.

Recognition

Tennis magazine has selected her as the greatest female tennis player for the years 1965 through 2005.[22] Tennis historian and journalist Bud Collins has called Navratilova "arguably, the greatest player of all time."[23]

Tennis writer Steve Flink, in his book The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century, named her as the second best female player of the 20th century, directly behind Steffi Graf.[24]

Miscellaneous facts

  • Martina Hingis, another tennis star who also has been ranked World No. 1, was named after Navratilova.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Act II of Navratilova's career ends with a win". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/usopen06/news/story?id=2578105. Retrieved 2007-02-14.  
  2. ^ Navratilova Czechs in to Homeland
  3. ^ "Martina Navratilova". Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. http://www.webcitation.org/5kx6wv8SV.  
  4. ^ ["Martina Defects for Love Set",St. Petersburg Independent, September 8, 1975, page 1-C]
  5. ^ Tim Reid (2008-03-12). "Martina Navratilova gets passport on rebound". The Times (United Kingdom). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3528622.ece.  
  6. ^ "I love my birth country and the fact that it is now a free country and a true democracy. But my home is here, in the US. I have lived in America since 1975 and I intend to always live here. This is my home and it feels almost gratuitous to me that I have to affirm my love for the USA. I live here, I vote here, I pay my taxes here and yes, I will do my jury duty... any reports stating I am leaving and most of all, denouncing my American citizenship are simply not true and quite frankly, insulting!."Martina Navratilova (2005-03-25). "My Dual Citizenship: Why Did the Media Get It So Wrong?". Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martina-navratilova/my-dual-citizenship-why-_b_93364.html.  
  7. ^ Martina Navratilova. "My Dual Citizenship: Why Did the Media Get It So Wrong?". Martina Navratilova. http://www.martinanavratilova.com/citizen.html.  
  8. ^ The Telegraph Online
  9. ^ The Independent
  10. ^ "Frances Dewey Wormser 1903 - 2008". Santa Paula Times. 2008-02-06. http://www.santapaulatimes.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/15525/Obituary.html. Retrieved 2008-02-19.  
  11. ^ Amazon.com: Being Myself: Martina Navratilova: Books
  12. ^ Vecsey, George; Navratilova, Martina (1985). Martina. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-53640-1.  
  13. ^ Bowden, Mary Ellen; Navratilova, Martina (1983). Tennis My Way. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-684-18003-0.  
  14. ^ Nickles, Elizabeth; Navratilova, Martina (1994). The Total Zone. New York: Villard Books. ISBN 0-345-38867-4.  
  15. ^ Navratilova, Martina (1997). Breaking Point. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-38868-2.  
  16. ^ Navratilova, Martina (1995). Killer Instinct. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-47268-3.  
  17. ^ Navratilova, Martina (2006). Shape Your Self. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 0-316-73296-6.  
  18. ^ Martina Navratilova
  19. ^ "Shape Up!". The Leonard Lopate Show (WNYC). 2006-04-03. http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/2006/04/03.  
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ Transcript, Connie Chung Tonight, July 17, 2002
  22. ^ "40 Greatest Players of the Tennis Era". Tennis magazine. http://www.tennis.com/features/40greatest/index.aspx. Retrieved 2007-04-21.  
  23. ^ Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. pp. 600. ISBN 0-942257-41-3.  
  24. ^ "Exclusive Interview with Steve Flink about the career of Chris Evert". ChrisEvert.net. http://www.chrisevert.net/flink.html. Retrieved 2007-02-14.  

Further reading

  • Blue, Adrianne (1995). Martina: The Lives and Times of Martina Navratilova. Carol Publishing Corporation. ISBN 1-55972-300-9.  
  • Howard, Johnette (2006). The Rivals: Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova: Their Epic Duels and Extraordinary Friendship. New York: Broadway. ISBN 0-7679-1885-1.  
  • Nelson, Judy; Faulkner, Sandra (1993). Love Match: Nelson Vs. Navratilova. Carol Publishing Corporation. ISBN 1-55972-157-X.  

Video

Wimbledon 1978 Final – Navratilova vs. Evert (2003) starring: Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: August 16, 2005, Run Time: 102 minutes, ASIN: B000A343R8

External links









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