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Martina Navratilova

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Martina Navratilova
Martina Navrátilová
Navratilova-PragueOpen2006-05 cropped.jpg
Country  Czechoslovakia (1956–1975)
 United States
 Czech Republic (2008–present)
Residence Sarasota, Florida, USA
Born (1956-10-18) October 18, 1956
Prague, Czechoslovakia
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 65.5 kg (144 lb; 10.31 st)
Turned pro 1975
Retired 1994–1999, 2006
Plays Left-handed; one-handed backhand
Prize money US$21,626,089
(6th in all-time rankings)
Int. Tennis HOF 2000 ( member page)
Career record 1,442–219 (86.8%)
Career titles 167 (Open era record)
Highest ranking No. 1 (July 10, 1978)
Grand Slam Singles 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)
Other tournaments
Championships W (1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 (1), 1986 (2))
Career record 747–143 (83.9%)
Career titles 177 (Open era record)
Highest ranking No. 1 (September 10, 1984)
Grand Slam Doubles results
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)
Other Doubles tournaments
Championships W (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986(2), 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991)(all-time record)
Mixed Doubles
Career titles 15
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: 8 July 2012.

1986 Paraguay stamp

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. 1 player, 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.

Early life and tennis career

Navratilova was born Martina Šubertová in Prague, Czechoslovakia. 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 (Czech pronunciation:  [ˈmarcɪna ˈnavraːcɪlovaː]). Her father Mirek remarried and divorced. When she was eight, he committed suicide. In 2008, Navratilova's mother died of emphysema, aged 75. Navratilova has a sister, Jana, and an older paternal half-brother.

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. Upon arriving in the United States, Navratilova first lived with former Vaudeville actress, Frances Dewey Wormser, and her husband, Morton Wormser, a tennis enthusiast.

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. Also, in 1975, Navratilova teamed with then world number one, Chris Evert, to win the French Open women's doubles title, Martina's first grand slam title. They teamed again in 1976 to win the women's Wimbledon doubles title over Billie Jean King and Bette Stove.

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, although Evert maintained the number one ranking at the end of 1978. She successfully defended her Wimbledon title in 1979, again beating Evert in the final, and earned the World No. 1 ranking at the end of the year for the first time. Just before Wimbledon in 1979, Navratilova and Evert played possibly the highest scoring women's professional match ever in the Eastbourne final, which Evert won 7-5, 5-7, 13-11. In April 1981, Evert whipped Navratilova in the finals of the Women's Tennis Association chapionships, 6-0, 6-0. It was Navratilova's only professional double bagel loss. It was at this point that Navratilova began working with Nancy Lieberman to improve her fitness to better compete with Evert. 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.

After adopting 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 post-1968 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.

A left-hander, 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.

In 1985, Navratilova played in what many consider to be 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 third set, before Evert hit a winning backhand passing shot on match point to defeat Navratilova 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5. In outdoor matches against Evert, Navratilova was up 10 - 5 on grass and 8 - 7 on hardcourts. But, Evert was up 11 - 3 on clay and 23 to 21 overall in outdoor matches.

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 eight 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 champions, Israel's Andy Ram and Russia's Vera Zvonareva. Earlier that day, Navratilova lost her women's doubles quarterfinal match against Chinese fourth seeds Yan Zi and Zheng Jie, also the eventual champions. 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.

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 Nadia Petrova. Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles: nine at Wimbledon, four at the US Open, three at the Australian Open, and two 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, the 35-year old Navratilova played Jimmy Connors in the third 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 TeamTennis pro league through the 2009 season.

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 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.

Career statistics


  • These are Open Era tennis records.
  • Records in bold indicate peer-less achievements.


  • ITF World Champion 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986.
  • WTA Player of the Year 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986.


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

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.

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 second greatest female tennis player of all times, behind Steffi Graf, in their list of 100 greatest tennis players of all times.


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

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