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L E’s Stories – “332 Weeks As World’s # 1 In Singles Tennis Player…..and 237 Weeks As World’s # 1 In Doubles Tennis Partner” – The Legend and Legacy of Martina Navratilova

I have often commented on the tennis loving family that I grew up in…..as my Dad was a corporate pilot for nearly 50 years….and the one piece of luggage that he carried on every trip was his tennis racquet.  No matter where he went and when he had time, he would a seek out a tennis court within walking distance of his hotel (5 – 10 miles)…..and off he’d head to hit on the boards until he could “round up a match”.  What was the coolest part about Dad’s love for tennis, was that he never cared about what the score was or who won for that matter…..cuz he just enjoyed the game and his playing opponent.  Dad was like that with each and every sport that he taught his three boys…..basketball, football, baseball, tennis, golf, volleyball, table tennis, snow skiing, water skiing, bowling, fishing, soft ball et al….while he taught each discipline of sports by having you strive to do the best that you could do….and to get yourself up after being knocked down, dust yourself off and get back into the game.  Compete by the rules, play fair, accept the calls of the referee, don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses and be a good sportsman….and remember, be humble and don’t gloat in victory…..and be a good loser.  Dad was the kind of sports mentor who used sports to teach his boys how to win at life…..and wasn’t so focused on whether you won or lost the game or match…..but more on how you played the game…..with the greatest importance being places on whether you had fun playing.  The truth be known, the entire magical world of sports has been diminished over the years since I was a boy growing up under Dad’s mentoring…..for in 2023 most sports mentoring is more about whether you win or not…..plus, along with about how much money you make playing your sport…..and not so much on how you played the game….or whether you had fun participating.  As a result of being a son of tennis loving Dad….I cannot tell you how many tennis matches (male and female) we watched on TV from the 1960’s thru the 1980’s…..and I did not like the subject of today’s post, the legendary Martina Navratilova…..who was the “bulked-up, left handed, power player defector from the Eastern Bloc, who was also an out of the closet lesbian”…..who dared to take so much of the female tennis limelight from my favorite female tennis player of the time, Chris Evert.  Navratilova actually dethroned Evert as the best female player in the game …..while playing an amazing 80 professional matches against each other.  In fact, I developed almost a dislike for “the dyke left-hander from the Communist country” who kept beating my tennis “heartthrob” Chrissie Evert.  However, regardless of my personal opinion about Martina…..the fact remains that she played in the vast majority of women’s championship finals from 1976 to 1989 that was on television…..which made her talent an undeniable truth in women’s tennis for almost two decades.  So, regardless of how I personally felt about Martina back when she dominated the sport…. there is absolutely no question that Martina Navratilova deserves her place in tennis history showcased in L E’s Stories here at ImaSportsphile…..so, we hope you enjoy this incredible athlete’s legendary tale being presented herewith.

Tennis – Documentary – 2023 – A US Open Tennis Championship Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Unrivaled – The Story of a Tennis Legend”                                                                                                

Martina Navratilova ( born October 18, 1956) is a Czech–born American former professional tennis player…..who is widely considered among the greatest tennis players of all time…..as Navratilova won 18 major singles titles…..and a whopping 31 major women’s doubles titles…..plus, 10 major mixed doubles titles…..which is for a combined total of 59 major titles….and still stands as the most in the Open Era.   Alongside Chris Evert, her greatest rival, Navratilova dominated women’s tennis in the 1970’s and 1980’s…..for it was definitely a two-horse race for the top throughout every tennis year.

 

 

 

Tennis – 1974 To 2006 – A Tennis Plus Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: How Good Was Martina Really?”

 

 

Navratilova was ranked as the world # 1 in singles for a total of 332 weeks …..which is 2nd only to Steffi Graf still today…..and for a record 237 weeks in doubles…..while this makes her the only player in history to have held the top spot in both disciplines for over 200 weeks.  She won 167 top-level singles titles and 177 doubles titles…..which are both the Open Era records. She won a record six consecutive singles majors across 1983 and 1984….. while simultaneously winning the Grand Slam in doubles.  Navratilova claims the best professional season winning percentage, 98.8% in 1983…..while going 86–1 for the season…..and the longest all-surface winning streak of 74 straight match wins.  She reached the Wimbledon singles final 12 times…..as a feat that includes nine consecutive years from 1982 through 1990…..while winning the title a record nine times.  Navratilova is one of the three tennis players, along with Margaret Court and Doris Hart, to have accomplished a career Grand Slam in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles…..which is called the career “Boxed Set”.  And get this, she won her last major title, the mixed doubles crown at the 2006 US Open, shortly before her 50th birthday, and 32 years after her first major title in 1974.

 

 

 

Tennis – 1974 To 2006 – A Listen To Us Production Great Woman’s Biography Special – “Martina Navratilova Biography: Tennis Player, Writer, Presenter”                                                                                            

 

Originally from Czechoslovakia, Navratilova was stripped of her citizenship when, in 1975 at age 18, she asked the United States for political asylum and was granted temporary residence…..then she became a US citizen in 1981….. plus, on January 9, 2008, Navratilova acquired Czech citizenship…..thus becoming a dual citizen.  She stated she has not renounced her U.S. citizenship nor does she plan to do so…..and that reclaiming Czech nationality was not politically motivated.  Navratilova has been openly lesbian since 1981…..and has been an activist for LGBTQ issues.

 

 

 

Tennis & Interview – 2014 – A Life at HSBC Production Live from London Special – ” Martina Navratilova: On Coming Out and LGBT Rights”

 

Navratilova was born Martina Šubertová in Prague, Czechoslovakia.  Her parents divorced when she was three…..when her mother, an accomplished gymnast, tennis player, and ski instructor, moved the family to Řevnice.  In 1962, her mother Jana married Miroslav Navrátil…..who became her 1st tennis coach.  Martina then took the name of her stepfather (adding the feminine suffix -ová), thus becoming Martina Navrátilová.  Her father, Mirek (officially Miroslav Šubert), was a ski instructor.  Navratilova has a younger sister, Jana, and an older paternal half-brother.  Her grandmother, Agnes Semanska, was a tennis player for the Czechoslovak Federation before the 2nd World War….while having a ranking as high as # 2 among Czech women during her amateur career.

 

 

Tennis – 1977 – US Open Women’s Doubles Finals Highlights – Dr. Renee Richards + Betty Ann Grubb Stuart Vs. Betty Stove + Martina Navratilova                                                                                                                    

 

When Navratilova was four, she was hitting a tennis ball off a concrete wall …..and started to play tennis regularly at age seven.  In 1972, at the age of 15, she won the Czechoslovakia national tennis championship…..then in 1973, at age 16, she made her debut on the United States Lawn Tennis Association professional tour…..but did not turn professional until 1975. Although perhaps most renowned for her mastery of fast low-bouncing grass, her best early showing at majors was on the red clay at the French Open…..where she would go on to reach the final six times.  In 1973, she made the quarterfinals, where she lost 6–7, 4–6 to Evonne Goolagong….. then she made the quarterfinals again the next year and lost to Helga Masthoff (née Niessen).

 

 

 

Tennis & Interview – 1977 – An Eileen Prose Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: On Ugly Accusations and Her Game”                                                                                                                                                                       

 

Navratilova won her first professional singles title in Orlando, Florida in 1974 at the age of 17…..when upon arriving in the United States, she lived with former actress Frances Dewey Wormser and her husband Morton Wormser, a tennis enthusiast.

 

 

Tennis – 2022 – A World of Tennis Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Most Career Titles – Martina or Steffi”                                                                                                                                                                           

 

Navratilova was the runner-up at two major singles tournaments in 1975….. the Australian Open…..which was won by Yvonne Goolagong…..and the French Open…..as won by Chris Evert in three sets.  After losing to Evert in the semifinals of the US Open in September, 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…..when within a month, she received a green card and in 1981 became a US citizen.  Also, in 1975, Navratilova teamed with world # 1 Chris Evert to win the French Open women’s doubles title…..which was Navratilova’s 1st major title outside of mixed doubles.  They teamed again in 1976 to win the Wimbledon women’s doubles title over Billie Jean King and Bette Stove.

 

 

Tennis – 1975 – Australian Open Women’s Singles Finals Extended Highlights – Martina Navratilova Vs. Yvonne Goolagong                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

Tennis – 1975 – An Evert Tennis Academy Production Special – “The French Open Women’s Singles Finals Highlights:  Martina Navratilova Vs. Chris Evert – In Their 1st Grand Slam Finals Battle”

 

 

Tennis – 1976 – Wimbledon Ladies Doubles Finals (Last Two Sets) – Martina Navratilova + Chris Evert Vs. Betty Stowe + Billie Jean King                                                                                                                                         

 

Navratilova won her 1st major singles title at Wimbledon in 1978…..where she defeated Evert in three sets in the final…..while capturing the world # 1 ranking for the 1st time on the WTA computer…..which is a position she held until Evert took it back in January 1979.  Martina successfully defended her Wimbledon title in 1979…..while again beating Evert in the final…..but this time in straight sets…..which helped her earn the World # 1 ranking at the end of the year for the 1st time.                                                                                       

 

 

Tennis – 1978 – Wimbledon Ladies Finals (Entire Match) – Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert

 

 

Tennis – 1978 – Wimbledon Ladies Finals (Extended Highlights) – Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert                    

 

Just before Wimbledon in 1979, Navratilova and Evert played possibly the highest scoring women’s professional match ever in the Eastbourne final…. which as a match wherein Evert edged Navratilova 7–5, 5–7, 13–11 after facing 28 match points.  In April 1981, Evert defeated Navratilova in the finals of the Women’s Tennis Association championships…..which were held on clay at Amelia Island, 6–0, 6–0…..which was Navratilova’s only pro double bagel loss…..as one she later avenged with a crushing 6–2, 6–0 defeat of Evert in the finals of the same Amelia Island event in 1984.  It was at this point that Navratilova began working with Nancy Lieberman to improve her fitness and toughen her mental approach to better compete with Evert and fulfill her true potential.  In 1981, Navratilova won her 3rd major singles title by defeating Evert in the final of the Australian Open.  Navratilova also defeated Evert to reach the final of the US Open…..where she lost a 3rd set tiebreak to Tracy Austin.  Navratilova won both Wimbledon and the French Open in 1982.                                                                                                                   

 

 

Tennis – 1979 – Eastbourne Tennis Championships Women’s Finals (Entire Match) – Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert

 

 

Tennis – 1981 – Australian Open Women’s Finals (Extended Highlights) – Chris Evert Vs Martina Navratilova                                                                                                                                                                          

 

Tennis – 1981 – US Open Ladies Semifinal Match Highlights – Martina Navratilova Vs. Chris Evert

 

 

Tennis – 1970’s & 1980’s – A United States Tennis Association Production Special – “Martina Navratilova & Chris Evert – One of the Most Iconic Rivalries In Women’s Tennis History”

 

 

Tennis – 1980 – The Avon Tennis Championships Ladies Finals (Entire Match) – Tracey Austin Vs Martina Navratilova – With Chris Evert Behind the Mic

 

 

After adopting basketball player Nancy Lieberman’s exercise plan and using Yonex isometric midsize graphite-fiberglass composite racquets, Navratilova became the most dominant player in women’s tennis.  After losing in the 4th round of the 1st major event of 1983, the French Open, she captured the year’s three remaining major 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 post-1968 professional tennis player.  During 1982, 1983, and 1984, Navratilova lost a total of only six singles matches.  This included a run of 13 consecutive victories over her closest rival and world-ranked # 2, Chris Evert.  Navratilova’s reign from 1982 to 1986 is the most dominant unbroken spell in the professional era in tennis.                                                                                                                                

 

 

Tennis – 1983 – Wimbledon Ladies Finals (Entire Match) – Chris Evert Vs. Martina Navratilova

 

 

Tennis – Grand Slam Entire Match – 1982 – US Open Women’s Finals – Chris Evert Vs Martina Navratilova

 

 

Tennis – Grand Slam Entire Match – 1983 – Australian Open Women’s Finals – Kathy Jordan Vs Martina Navratilova

 

 

Tennis – Grand Slam Entire Match – 1984 – Wimbledon Women’s Singles Finals – Chris Evert Lloyd Vs Martina Navratilova

 

 

Navratilova won the 1984 French Open, thus holding all four major singles titles simultaneously.  Her accomplishment was declared a “Grand Slam” by Philippe Chatrier, president of the International Tennis Federation, although some tennis observers countered that it was not a true slam because the titles had not been won in a single calendar year.  Navratilova extended her major singles tournament winning streak to a record-equaling six following wins at Wimbledon and the US Open.  Navratilova’s victory meant she became the 1st player to win majors on clay, grass and hard court during the same year calendar year.  She entered the 1984 Australian Open with a chance of winning all four titles in the same year. In the semifinals, Helena Suková ended Navratilova’s 74-match winning streak (a record for a professional) 1–6, 6–3, 7–5.                                                                                                           

 

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1984 – Virginia Slims Championships Final – Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert

 

 

Tennis – Entire Match – 1985 – French Open Ladies Championship Finals – Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert

 

 

A left-hander, Navratilova completed a calendar grand slam in women’s doubles in 1984…..while partnering with right-handed Pam Shriver.  This was part of a record 109-match winning streak that the pair achieved between 1983 and 1985…..as Navratilova was ranked the world # 1 doubles player for a period of over three years in the 1980’s. From 1985 through 1987, Navratilova reached the women’s singles final at all 11 major tournaments held during those three years, winning six of them.  From 1982 through 1990, she reached the Wimbledon final nine consecutive times…..plus, 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.  To say that Martina Navratilova dominated women’s professional tennis during the decade of the 1980’s would be a gross understatement.                                                                                                          

                                                                                                   

 

Tennis – Documentary – 2020 – A Wimbledon Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: A League of Her Own – Her Final Wimbledon Singles Title in 1990” – Narrated by Chris Evert 

 

 

In 1985, Navratilova played in what many consider to be perhaps the best woman’s match of all time, the French Open final against Chris Evert. Navratilova battled back from 3–6, 2–4 down to 5–5 all in the 3rd set, before Evert hit a winning backhand passing shot on match point to defeat Navratilova 6–3, 6–7(4–7), 7–5.  This was a major turnaround for Evert…..who was so outmatched the year earlier in the final that Bud Collins remarked as a TV commentator that the sport needed to create a higher league for Navratilova to compete in.  In outdoor matches against Evert, Navratilova led 10–5 on grass…..and 9–7 on hard courts…..while Evert was up 11–3 on clay…..so, overall Evert won 23 and Navratilova won 22 of their career head-to-head battles outdoors.  On indoor courts, however, Navratilova had a decisive 21–14 lead. At the end of what is widely regarded as the greatest rivalry in women’s tennis, Navratilova led Evert 43–37 in total matches, 14–8 in Grand Slams, and 10–4 in Grand Slam finals.                                                         

 

 

Tennis – Interview – 2019 – A BT Sport Production Special – “Chris Evert & Martina Navratilova: Look Back On Their Legendary Rivalry And Tennis Careers”

 

 

Tennis – 1985 – A Doctor Bopp’s Tennis-Videoarchive Production Special – French Open Ladies Finals Highlights – Chris Evert Vs Martina Navratilova – Covered by German TV                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

Tennis – 1984 – Virginia Slims of Florida Championship Ladies Finals – Chris Evert Vs Martina Navratilova – As Chrissy Breaks Her 13 Match Loss Streak

 

 

Tennis – Entire Match – 1986 – NBC Sports Presents The French Open Ladies Finals – Chris Evert Vs Martina Navratilova – With Dick Enberg + Bud Collins   

                                                                                            

 

Tennis – 2023 – A Washington Post Production Special – “Martina Navratilova & Chris Evert: Bitter Rivals Beloved Friends. Survivors”

     

                                                                                                                                                 

In 1986 at the U.S. Open, Navratilova prevailed over 16-year-old German Steffi Graf in a semi-final 6–1, 6–7(7–3), 7–6(10–8), before handily winning the final over Helena Suková 6–3, 6–2…..while  Navratilova, with partner Pam Shriver, also won the women’s doubles title.  Navratilova also defeated Graf in straight sets at the WTA Tour Championship…..and with an 89–3 record, earned the # 1 ranking for the 5th consecutive year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

Tennis – 1974 To 2006 – A US Open Tennis Championships Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Top 10 US Open Moments”

 

 


 
Tennis – Entire Match – 1986 – US Open Ladies Semifinals – Steffi Graf Vs Martina Navratilova

 

 

Tennis – Entire Match – 1986 – US Open Ladies Finals – Helena Sukova Vs Martina Navratilova

 

 

Tennis – Entire Match – 1986 – Wimbledon Ladies Singles Championship Semifinals – Gabriela Sabatini Vs Martina Navratilova

 

 

Tennis – Entire Match – 1986 – Wimbledon Ladies Singles Championship Finals – Hana Mandikova Vs Martina Navratilova 

                                                                                                                                                                                       

Graf dominated the 1st half of the 1987 season including defeating Navratilova in straight sets in the semi-finals of the Miami Open and in the final of the French Open, 6–4, 4–6, 8–6.  However, Navratilova defeated Graf in straight sets in the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open…..where at the US Open, she became only the 3rd player in the Open Era, joining tennis legends Margaret Court and Billie Jean King, to win the women’s singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles at the same event….which is known as the “Rare Triple Crown”.  Navratilova reached all four Grand Slam finals in 1987…..while winning two of them…..while losing the Australian Open to Hana Mandlíková.    Graf’s two losses to Navratilova were her only losses of the year and with 11 tournament wins over the year versus 4 for Navratilova she was able to obtain year-end world # 1 ranking ahead of Navratilova at #  2.  Graf eventually broke Navratilova’s records of 156 consecutive weeks and 331 total weeks as the world # 1 singles player…..but fell 60 short of Navratilova’s record of 167 singles titles.  Including doubles, Navratilova won almost three times as many titles as Graf with a record doubles / mixed doubles / singles combined total of 344 titles to Graf’s 118. 

 

Tennis – 1987 – A US Open Tennis Championship Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: USOTC 50 Moments – Navratilova Wins Rare Triple Crown”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1987 – French Open Tennis Ladies Finals – Martina Navratilova Vs Steffi Graf     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1987 – US Open Tennis Ladies Finals – Martina Navratilova Vs Steffi Graf

 

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1987 – Wimbledon Championships Ladies Semifinals – Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert

 

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1987 – Wimbledon Championships Ladies Finals – Martina Navratilova Vs Steffi Graf                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

Tennis – Entire Match – 1987 – Virginia Slims of Houston Championships Ladies Finals – Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert

 

 

Tennis – 1987 – A US Open Tennis Championships Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Wins Singles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles Titles in Same Year At The US Open For Rare Triple Crown”

 

                                                                                                                                                               

In 1988, Graf won all four major singles titles, beating the 31-year-old Navratilova 5–7, 6–2, 6–1 in the Wimbledon final…..which was their only match of the year…..as Graf recovered from a set and a break down. Navratilova did not reach the finals of any of the other Grand Slam events….. but did win nine tournaments enabling her to claim the # 2 ranking behind Graf.                                                                                                                                

 

 

Tennis – 1988 – Wimbledon Ladies Finals Extended Highlights – Martina Navratilova Vs Steffi Graf – In German Dialog

 

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1989 – US Open Women’s Singles Finals – Steffi Graf Vs Martina Navratilova

 

 

Tennis – USTA Extended Highlights – 1990 – US Open Women’s Doubles Finals – Martina Navratilova + Gigi Fernandez Vs. Top Seeds Novotna and Sukova – Martina Navratilova’s 31st and Final Grand Slam Women’s Doubles Title INCREDIBLE!!!

 

 

Tennis – 1990 – Oakland Women’s Finals Highlights – Monica Seles Vs Martina Navratilova                                          

 

In 1989, Graf and Navratilova met in the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open, with Graf winning both encounters 6–1 in the third set.  Graf also defeated Navratilova in the finals of the WTA Tour Championships their 3rd and final match of the year.  Navratilova, who skipped the French Open that year, did win eight titles…..and was able to capture the # 2 ranking behind Graf for the 3rd straight year.  Despite the 13 year age difference between the two players…..along with Graf’s comparative lack of investment in doubles and mixed doubles…..that’s when Navratilova won 9 of the 18 career singles matches with Graf…..along with 5 of the 9 major singles matches with her.  At age 34, Navratilova defeated Graf the last time they played in a major in the semifinals of the 1991 US Open 7–6(7–2), 6–7(6–8), 6–4, to end their Grand Slam rivalry 5–4 up…..albeit is noteworthy that all 4 of Graf’s Grand Slam victories over Navratilova came in the finals of a Slam. 

 

 

 

Tennis – 1989 – Wimbledon Championships Ladies Finals Highlights – Martina Navratilova Vs Steffi Graf

 

 

Tennis – 1989 – US Open Tennis Championships Ladies Finals Highlights – Martina Navratilova Vs Steffi Graf

 

 

Tennis – 1991 – US Open Tennis Championships Ladies Semifinals Highlights – Martina Navratilova Vs Steffi Graf – In Last Match Ever Played By Martina + Steffi                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Navratilova’s final Grand Slam singles triumph was in 1990…..when in the final at Wimbledon, the 33-year-old Navratilova swept Zina Garrison 6–4, 6–1 to claim an all-time record 9th Wimbledon singles crown.  She won four other tournaments that year…..albeit she did not participate in the French or Australian Opens…..and finished the year ranked # 3 in the world …..after being narrowly edged by 16-year-old Monica Seles for the # 2 spot.  In September 1992, the 35-year-old Navratilova played 40-year-old Jimmy Connors in the 3rd Battle of the Sexes tennis match at Caesars Palace in Paradise, Nevada.  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.  She played for the Boston Lobsters in the World Team Tennis pro league through the 2009 season.                                                                                                                                   

 

 

Tennis – 1990 – Wimbledon Championships Ladies Final (Extended Highlights) – USA Martina Navratilova Vs USA Zena Garrison                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

Tennis – Exhibition – 1992 – Battle of the Sexes: Battle of the Champions Special – Jimmy Connors Vs Martina Navratilova                                                                                                                                                      

 

Though Wimbledon 1990 was her last major singles title, Navratilova reached two additional major singles finals during the remainder of career …..when in 1991, she lost in the US Open final to # 1 Monica Seles…..and, in 1994, at age 37, Navratilova reached the Wimbledon final…..where she lost in three sets to Conchita Martínez.  In November that year, after losing to Gabriela Sabatini in the 1st round of the WTA Tour Championships, she retired from full-time competition on the singles tour.  She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000.                                                             

 

 

Tennis – Entire Match – 1991 – US Open Tennis Championships Women’s Finals – Monica Seles Vs Martina Navratilova       

 

 

Tennis – Entire Match – 1994 – Wimbledon Ladies Finals – Conchita Martinez vs Martina Navratilova – With Pat Summerall + Tony Trabert + Mary Carillo

 

 

Tennis & Awards – 2000 – International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Special – “Martina Navratilova: Induction + Acceptance Speech”

 

 

In 2000, Navratilova returned to the tour to mostly play doubles events…..  while rarely ever playing singles.  In her 1st singles performance in eight years, at Eastbourne in 2002, she beat world # 22, Tatiana Panova…..then lost 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 while partnering Leander Paes…..as this made her the oldest ever major champion at age 46 years, 8 months.  The Australian Open victory made her the 3rd player in history to complete a “boxed set” of major titles by winning the singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles at all four majors.  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 major titles to 58…..which is 2nd only to Margaret Court, who won 64.  Navratilova made a return to singles at the 2004 French Open after an absence of 10 years…..as she was defeated by Gisela Dulko in the 1st round.  Shortly afterwards, and despite being criticized for receiving a wildcard, Navratilova won a singles match over Catalina Castaño 6–0 6–1 at the 1st round of Wimbledon in 2004 at age 47 years and eight months…..which to make her the oldest player to win a professional singles match in the open era.  Navratilova then lost her 2nd round match with the same player who had beaten her at the French Open the previous month, Gisela Dulko, in three sets.                                                           

 

 

Tennis – 2003 – Wimbledon Championships Mixed Doubles Final Point And Trophy Presentation – “Share The Moment:  Navratilova (with Partner Leander Paez) Wins Wimbledon Title # 20 – To Tie Billie Jean King With Most Total Wimbledon Titles”

 

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 2004 – Wimbledon Ladies Round 1 – Martina Navratilova Vs Catalina Castaño – As Martina Becomes Oldest Female Singles Match Player in Wimbledon History

 

 

On Thursday, July 6, 2006, Navratilova played her last matches at Wimbledon, with partner Liezel Huber losing a quarterfinal match in women’s doubles to 4th seeds and eventual champions Yan Zi and Zheng Jie …..and later in the same day with partner Mark Knowles losing in the 3rd round of mixed doubles to eventual champions Andy Ram and Vera Zvonareva.  She had said that her last Wimbledon wasn’t about breaking her record shared with Billie Jean King of 20 championships…..however in an interview, Navratilova was quoted as saying, “People keep saying that, but it so wasn’t. I just wanted to win one more title here, period.”                                             

 

 

 Tennis – Entire Match – 2006 – US Open Mixed Doubles QuarterfinalS – Martina Navratilova + Bob Bryan Vs. Anna-Lena Gronefeld + Frantisek Cermak

 

 

Tennis – Entire Match – 2006 – US Open Mixed Doubles 2nd Round – Martina Navratilova + Bob Bryan Vs. Tiantian Sun + Julian Knowle

 

 

Navratilova capped her career by winning the mixed doubles title, her 41st major doubles title (31 in women’s doubles and 10 in mixed doubles) and 177th overall, at the 2006 US Open with American doubles specialist Bob Bryan…..which at the time, she was only about a month shy of her 50th birthday…..and broke her own record as the oldest ever major champion (aged 49 years, 10 months).  Navratilova won 167 top-level singles titles….. which is 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, Quebec…..where she partnered Nadia Petrova. Navratilova won 18 major singles titles…..with nine at Wimbledon…..four at the US Open…..three at the Australian Open…..and two at the French Open. Her overall record in 67 major singles events was 306–49…..with 120–14 at Wimbledon…..89–17 at the US Open…..51–11 at the French Open…..and 46–7 at the Australian Open…..which by any measure is quiet an accomplishment. Some observers argue that the very few singles match she played in her forties should be counted separately in her career statistics.  She is the only player to have won at least one tour event for 21 consecutive years and won the singles and doubles at the same event a record 84 times…..while being  ranked in the world’s top 3 in singles for 15 years between 1977 and 1993. Her career singles match win total of 1,442 is the most during the open era.

 

 

 

Tennis – The Open Era – 1968 To Present – A-World-Of-Tennis Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Most Career Titles in Women’s Tennis – List of the Top 10”

 

 

Navratilova had an attacking serve and volley.  Under Renée Richards, she improved her game tactics.  Evert said that “Martina revolutionized the game by her superb athleticism and aggressiveness…She brought athleticism to a whole new level with her training techniques — particularly cross-training, the idea that you could go to the gym or play basketball to get in shape for tennis.”                                                                                                                              

 

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1974 To 2006 – A Tennis History Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Master of Serve and Volley”

 

 

Tennis – 2022 – A TopCourt Production Special – “Martina Navratilova:  A Volley Lesson”                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

Tennis – 2022 – A TopCourt Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Shares Her Serve and Volley Strategies”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

Throughout her long career, Navratilova had many coaches. They included Miroslav Navrátil, George Parma, Věra Suková, Renée Richards (1981–1983), Mike Estep (1983–1986) and Craig Kardon (1988–1994).

Tennis & Interview – 2018 – WTA Production Special – “State of the Game: Navratilova & Evert Go Head To Head”                                                                                                                                                                                 

  

In December 2014, it was announced that Navratilova had joined Agnieszka Radwańska’s coaching staff…..however, in April 2015, after Radwańska struggled in the 1st half of the season, the pair decided to part ways.                    

 

 

Tennis & Interview – 2018 – WTA Production Special – “One on One With Chris Evert: Episode 10 – Martina Navratilova”                                                                                                                                                                       

 

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.  An ESPN Documentary was produced about her rivalry with Chris Evert titled, Unmatched. Her rivalry and friendship with Evert is also detailed in the book, The Rivals by Johnette Howard and the children’s book, Martina and Chrissie by Phil Bildner.                                                                                               

 

 

Tennis – Documentary – Official Trailer – 2013 – An ESPN 30 For 30 Production Special – “Unmatched: The Epic Rivalry Between Chris Evert & Martina Navratilova”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

Tennis – Documentary – Extra Trailer – 2013 – An ESPN 30 For 30 Production Special – “Unmatched: The Epic Rivalry Between Chris Evert & Martina Navratilova” – Featuring “Unmatchjed” Producers Lisa Lax & Nancy Stern Winters

 

 

In 1981, shortly after becoming a United States citizen, Navratilova gave an interview to New York Daily News sports reporter Steve Goldstein, coming out as bisexual and revealing that she had a sexual relationship with Rita Mae Brown, but asked him not to publish the article until she was ready to come out publicly. However, the New York Daily News published the article on July 30, 1981.  Navratilova and Nancy Lieberman, her friend and roommate at the time, gave an interview to Dallas Morning News columnist Skip Bayless…..where Navratilova reiterated that she was bisexual and Lieberman identified herself as straight.  Navratilova since has reidentified herself as a lesbian.                                                                                                                                    

 

 

Tennis & Interviews – 2014 – A Fortune Magazine Production Pattie Sellers Interview Special – “Martina Navratilova:  On Her Colossal Tennis Career”                                                                                                                  

 

From 1984 to 1991, Navratilova had a long-term relationship with Judy Nelson…..whom she met at a tournament in Fort Worth in 1982…..when at  the time Nelson was married with two children……as their split in 1991 resulted in a televised palimony lawsuit, which was settled out of court.  On September 6, 2014, Navratilova proposed to her long-time girlfriend Julia Lemigova, a former Miss USSR, at the US Open.  They married in New York on December 15, 2014.

 

 

Tennis & News – 2014 – A Tennis Channel Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Proposes to Julia Lemigova”                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

According to the New York Times’ Jane E. Brody, in September 1982, an acute attack of toxoplasmosis “contributed to Martina Navratilova’s defeat during the United States Open tennis tournament”, in which # 1 seed Navratilova unexpectedly lost to # 7 seed Pam Shriver in the quarterfinal round….but by late October, Navratilova had “apparently recovered”…..and that’s when Navratilova began to wear glasses in 1985…..and recalled that her vision had begun to deteriorate in 1984…..as she continued to wear glasses for tennis for many years…..as Martina is one of the few tennis players who wear sunglasses regularly on the court…..and albeit she achieved so much prior to using glasses, her glasses have become iconic. Some sports writers have said that they made her, as with other top athletes who had imperfect health, seem more vulnerable and human.

 

 

 

Tennis – 2016 – Las Vegas AIDS Charity Exhibition Mixed Doubles Highlights – John McEnroe + Maria Sharapova Vs Andy Roddick + Martina Navratilova

 

 

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 tumor surgically removed…..while receiving radiation therapy in May.  In December 2010, Navratilova was hospitalized after developing high altitude pulmonary edema while attempting a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.   In January 2023, Navratilova was diagnosed with both throat (stage one) and breast cancer. This came after Navratilova discovered a swelled lymph node on her neck, leading her to take medical tests.  In March 2023 and after more preventive radiation, she stated that she was cancer-free.                                                                    

 

 

Tennis – 1979 – Eastbourne Tennis Championship Women’s Finals Highlights – Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

Navratilova is involved with various charities that benefit animal rights, underprivileged children, and gay rights.  Navratilova has described herself as a vegetarian. In an April 2006 interview, she said she had begun eating fish again because she found it hard to get enough protein while on the road.

 

 

 

Tennis – 2020 – A Tennis Channel Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: A Love Affair With The US Open”

 

 

Navratilova participated in a lawsuit against Amendment 2, a successful 1992 ballot proposition in Colorado designed to prevent sexual orientation from being a protected class.  In 1993, Navratilova spoke before the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. Navratilova serves as the Health and Fitness Ambassador for AARP in an alliance created to help AARP’s millions of members lead active, healthy lives.  In 2000, she was the recipient of National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign.  She is a vocal opponent of communism and was vocal in opposition to the Soviet Bloc power structure that compelled her to flee her native Czechoslovakia.  She has denounced the Soviet Union’s rule in Czechoslovakia, maintaining that she refuses to speak Russian, which she was forced to learn in school.  Martina Navratilova has said on often occasion…“Whenever people go into politics and they try to say that communism is a good thing, I say, ‘Go ahead and live in a communist country then, if you think it is 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 US 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, when 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 Czechoslavakia. You know, if you don’t like it here, this is a country that gave you so much, gave you the freedom to do what you want….and Navratilova responded, “And I’m giving it back.  This is why I speak out.  When I see somethin 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.”  Navratilova was quoted in 2007 as being ashamed of the U.S. under President George W. Bush because, unlike the communist regime in Czechoslovakia which established its dictatorship as a result of the 1948 coup d’état, Bush was democratically elected.                                                                                               

 

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1974 To 2006 – An MCfanforeverXD Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Best Shots – Part 1”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1974 To 2006 – An MCfanforeverXD Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Best Shots – Part 2”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1974 To 2006 – An MCfanforeverXD Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Best Shots – Part 3”   

 

 

Tennis – Extended Highlights – 1974 To 2006 – An MCfanforeverXD Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Best Shots – Part 4”   

                                                                                                                                         

 

Navratilova is critical of allowing transgender women to compete in women’s sports…..and she rejects accusations of transphobia…..and says she deplores “a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anyone who argues against them and to label them all as ‘transphobes.'” Following an article on the subject that Navratilova wrote for The Times in February 2019, Athlete Ally, an LGBTQ athlete advocacy group, removed Navratilova from their advisory board, stating her comments “are transphobic [and] based on a false understanding of science and data”.  In March 2019, Navratilova apologized for using the term “cheating” when discussing whether transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in women’s sport….when she also called for “a debate, a conversation that includes everyone and is based, as I have said, not on feeling or emotion but science.”  In an April 2019 article for The Washington Post, she opined that the Equality Act, in its current form, “would make it unlawful to differentiate among girls and women in sports on the basis of sex for any purpose”.  In June 2019, the BBC broadcast “The Trans Women Athlete Dispute with Martina Navratilova”…..where she interviewed people including trans women athletes and sports researchers, presenting evidence on both sides of the debate of whether trans women have any advantage in elite sports.  Her closing remarks were “The way I started this journey, I just wanted to see if there are any big surprises, any misconceptions that I had.  And what I think I have come to reaslise, the biggest thing for me , is just that the level of difficulty that trans people go through cannot be underestimated.  The fight for equality and recognition is just huge.  That being said, still, for me, the most important thing is sports…..and you have to remember, trans rights and elite sports are two different things, although of course they are connected.  What’s the right way to set rulse so that everybody feels like they have a fighting chance?  It feels to me that it is impossible to come to any real conclusions or write any meaningful rules until more research is done. But for now, I think we need to include as many transgender athletes as possible within elite sports, while keeping it as level playing field a possible.  Look, society has changed so much.  Things evolve, things change and maybe I need to evolve, I need to change.  The rules certainly need to evolve.  If you don’t adapt, you’ve got problems.  And so we’ll just keep adapting and try to find a happy way forward.”  In August 2020, Navratilova along with 300+ women signed a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association in support of an Idaho law that bans trans women student athletes from competing in female sports.

 

 

 

Tennis & News – 2022 – A NewsNation Prime Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Says Lia Thomas Shouldn’t Swim Against Women”

 

 

Tennis & News – 2022 – A Sky News Australia with Piers Morgan Uncensored Production Special – “Martina Navratilova:  You Really Can’t Have It All, As She Weighs In On Trans Women Sport Ban”

 

 

By winning the 1983 US Open title, Navratilova completed the career Grand Slam, becoming only the seventh woman in history to achieve it….while she was also AP Female Athlete of the Year 1983 and 1984…..ITF World Champion 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986…..WTA Player of the Year 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986…..BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award 2003…..Czech Sport Legend Award 2006…..and BBC’s 100 Women 2013.  Navratilova is considered one of the best female tennis players of all time and in 2005, Tennis magazine selected her as the greatest female tennis player for the years 1965 through 2005, directly over Steffi Graf.   Billie Jean King, a former World # 1 player, said in 2006 that Navratilova is “the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who’s ever lived.”  In 2008, tennis historian and journalist Bud Collins called Navratilova “arguably, the greatest player of all time.”

 

 

 

Tennis – Mini Documentary – 2023 – A Tennis Channel Production Special – “WTA 50th Anniversary – Chapter 3:  Chrissie Evert & Martina Navratilova”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

In 2000, she became a member of the Laureus Sports Foundation’s Academy. In 2006, Martina Navratilova was named by Equality Forum as one of their 31 Icons of the LGBT History Month.  Tennis writer Steve Flink, in his book The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century (1999), named her as the 2nd best female player of the 20th century, directly behind Steffi Graf.  In 2009, Navratilova was awarded the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) highest accolade, the Philippe Chatrier Award, for her contributions to tennis both on and off the court.  In June 2011, she was named one of the “30 Legends of Women’s Tennis: Past, Present and Future” by Time.  In March 2012, The Tennis Channel named Navratilova as the 2nd greatest female tennis player of all times, behind Steffi Graf, in their list of 100 greatest tennis players of all times.  On August 2, 2013, Navratilova was among the 1st class of inductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.  On May 12, 2016, Navratilova was made an honorary fellow of Lucy Cavendish College of the University of Cambridge.

 

 

 

Tennis – 2009 – A Tennis Channel Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: Coming Out”                                                                                 

 

 

Tennis & Business – 2014 – A Life at HSBC Production Special – “Martina Navratilova: On Coming Out, LGBT Rights and Why Diversity Is Good For Business”

 

 

In November 2008, Martina Navratilova appeared on the UK’s ITV series  Series 8 of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!…..when she finished runner-up to Joe Swash.  In February 2012, Navratilova was announced as a cast member on the 14th season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars…..when she was partnered with Tony Dovolani…..but they were the 1st pair eliminated.  Navratilova guest-starred as a dissatisfied Yelp reviewer in episode three of the 3rd season of absurdist comedy Portlandia.  In 2019, Navratilova had a recurring role portraying Brigitte, a horse trainer, in the Netflix series, The Politician.

 

 

 

Tennis & Talk Shows – 2019 – Live on the Andrew Marr Show – Martina Navratilova on Transgender Rights

 

 

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald is developing a feature film documentary film about Navratilova…..who was one of his childhood heroes….and as a social justice pioneer…..with Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine.

 

 

 

Tennis & Interview – 2023 – A Piers Morgan Uncensored Production Interview Special – “Martina Navratilova: Emotional Interview With Piers Morgan On Fight Against Double Cancer”

 

 

As a Sportsphile, I try to keep each and every personal opinion to myseIf regarding the personal make up of the athletes that I showcase in my posts here at ImaSportsphile…..and attempt to focus on the accomplishments of those in each particular post that I do…..as I like to focus on the physicality and psychology of each of those folks…..and present them as the Legends of Athletics …..for example, the Piers Morgan video above tells you all that you need to know about whether Martina Navratilova has what sports refers to as “heart”…..who will fight until there not another beat….and that is part of the psychology of sports that I’m talking about.  I must admit that the contents of the videos attached in this post have solidified my opinion that Martina Navratilova was the greatest women’s tennis player to ever play the game…..for it is my opinion that her all time record of winning 59 combined Grand Slam Titles with 18 singles, 31 doubles and 10 mixed doubles along with her 9 Wimbledon Singles Titles will never be broken…..(kinda like MLB’s P Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 strikeouts and 7 no hitters…..there are just too many). Martina is without question the greatest female tennis player of all time….. while she played amazing tennis at the highest level for so long…..while having the media constantly watching her every move…..and following her everywhere…..as they went through all of her rubbish…..when she got all this unwanted attention, more than any other player, simply because she was gay …..yet she refused to let these constant intrusions affect her or her tennis.  It is my opinion that no other female tennis player could have coped with the constant pressure…..and still win as much as Martina did.  She’s a fantastic human being…..who for many folks in the LGBT community, has been and continues to be is a true, inspirational role model.  Her titles, her charisma, her intelligence, her strong support of women, everything…..cuz simply put, she elevated the game in every way.   Apart from being the greatest female player ever, Martina Navratilova is still an inspiration…..for to go through everything that she went through…..and yet her tennis game never wavered …..cuz to play the kind of tennis she played…..and for so long makes her a unique and remarkable woman.  Plus, her rivalry with Chris Evert took women’s tennis to a whole new level…..while making the whole world sit up and take notice.  Her records and achievements will never be equaled, never mind broken, and for people to say that she isn’t the GOAT is quite simply rubbish!  What she’s done for women’s tennis and for Gay Rights has been nothing short of astonishing…..and she should get a lot more respect than she gets especially from the media for all of her endeavors.  What a remarkable woman…..with class, depth, intelligence and true wit…..cuz simply put,  I miss seeing her play too!

 

 

 

  

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