Martina Navratilova (Czech: Martina Navrátilová; born Martina Šubertová; October 18, 1956) is a retired Czech American tennis player and coach. Billie Jean King, former World No. 1player, said in 2006 that Navratilova is "the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who's ever lived."
Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 major women's doubles titles (an all-time record), and 10 major mixed doubles titles. She reached the Wimbledon singles final 12 times, including nine consecutive years from 1982 through 1990, and won the women's singles title at Wimbledon a record nine 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") a record she shares with Margaret Court and Doris Hart. 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 major singles titles (six). Navratilova reached 11 consecutive major 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 major titles in 1984, i.e. the Grand Slam. Also the pair set an all-time record of 79 titles together and tied Louise Brough Clapp's and Margaret Osborne duPont's record of 20 major women's doubles titles as a team. In addition she won the season ending WTA Tour Championships a record 8 times and made the finals a record 14 times and won the doubles title a record 11 times. Navratilova is the only person of either sex to have won eight different tournaments at least seven times.
Originally from Czechoslovakia, she was stripped of her citizenship when, in 1975 at the age of 18, she asked the United States for political asylum and was granted temporary residency. At the time, Navratilova was told by the Czechoslovakian Sports Federation that she was becoming too Americanized and that she should go back to school and make tennis secondary. Navratilova became a US citizen in 1981, and on January 9, 2008, she had her Czech citizenship restored. She stated she has not renounced her U.S. citizenship nor does she plan to do so and that the restoration of her Czech citizenship was not politically motivated.
Navratilova is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy. She also serves as the Health and Fitness Ambassador for AARP in an alliance created to help AARP's millions of members lead active, healthy lives.
Navratilova is involved with various charities that benefit animal rights, underprivileged children, and gay rights.
In 1981, shortly after becoming a United States citizen, Navratilova came out publicly about her sexual orientation through a column written by Skip Bayless. During the early 1980s, she was involved with author Rita Mae Brown. From 1984 to 1991, Navratilova had a long-term relationship with 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 The New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey, titled Martina in the U.S. and Being Myself in the rest of the world. She had earlier co-written a tennis instruction book with Mary Carillo in 1982, entitled Tennis My Way. She later wrote three mystery novels with Liz Nickles: The Total Zone (1994), Breaking Point (1996), and Killer Instinct (1997). Navratilova's most recent literary effort was a health and fitness book entitled Shape Your Self, which came out in 2006.
On April 7, 2010, Navratilova announced that she was being treated for breast cancer. A routine mammogram in January 2010 revealed that she had a ductal carcinoma in situ in her left breast, which she was informed of on February 24, and in March she had the tumour surgically removed; she received radiation therapy in May.
Activism and politicsEditNavratilova and Mark Tewksburyread 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 participated in a lawsuit against Amendment 2, a 1992 ballot proposition in Colorado designed to deny gays and lesbians legal protection from discrimination. In 1993, she spoke before the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.
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.
A vegetarian, Navratilova appeared in ad campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In an April 2006 interview, however, she said she had recently begun eating fish again because she found it hard to get enough protein while on the road; which would make her a pescetarian not a vegetarian; nevertheless in 2008 she described herself as vegetarian.
Navratilova in September 2011
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 Communism, and unrelenting opposition to the former Eastern Bloc power structure that she believes compelled her to flee her native Czechoslovakia. She has 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.
"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.' "
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 stated: "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."
Martina was quoted in 2007 as being ashamed of the US under President George W. Bush because unlike the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, Bush was elected.