Tennis Legends: Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova is an ex-World number 1 female Tennis Player. Born on October 18, 1956 in Czechoslovakia, she became the citizen of America in 1981.Her stepfather Miroslav Navratil was her first coach. Martina won the Czech republic national tennis championship at the age of fifteen. At the age of seventeen, she got her very first professional singles title when she played the match in Orlando, Florida. She became a professional tennis player in 1975.
In 1975’s Grand Slam singles tournaments, she was one of the finalist in both the Australian Open and French Open, but she lost in both the finals to Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Chris Evert, respectively. The same year, she even lost in the semi finals of the US Open the same year after which she made her mind to get the green card of United States. In 1978, Navratilova got her first victory in the Grand Slam singles at Wimbledon and at the same she acquired the world number 1 rank after defeating Chris Evert.
Navratilova was a women of great power and aggression because of which she raised the level of competition. Initially she was on the heavier side and she had to struggle a lot to get into shape for tennis. In this regard Nancy Lieberman, a basketball player, helped her. She underwent severe levels of fitness and exercising which finally got her into shape. She even learned the technique to use graphite racquets, which made her one of the most dominant tennis player.
She again beat Evert in the 1981 Grand Slam singles, in Australia Open. The next year she won the French and Wimbledon Open. In 1983, she won in three out of four Grand Slam events. She had scored the best ever-professional winning percentage as a tennis player. She retaliated back by winning the French Open Grand Slam of the year 1984, which she had lost in 1983. This superb victory was called the Grand Slam by the president of the International Tennis Federation, Philippe Chatrier. From 1982-1984, she lost only six of the singles matches.
Navratilova won women’s doubles titles in all the four Grand Slams of 1984. From 1985-1987, she won six out of eleven women’s singles final Grand Slam tournaments. Steffi Graff started to play in 1987 and from the beginning she gave a tough competition to Martina Navratilova. Graff defeated her in her first Grand slam in the finals of French Open. Navratilova gained back her title by defeating Graff in the 1987 Wimbledon Open. Navratilova’s won her final Grand Slam singles in 1990. Her name was included in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the year 2000.
The left-handed athlete was known to be the greatest tennis player, be it singles, doubles or mixed doubles. She was the second best female athlete of the twentieth century according to Steve Flink. From 1965 to 2005, she was named as the greatest female tennis player by Tennis magazine. In her career, she won a total of thirty one Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, which is also a world record, eighteen Grand Slam singles titles, ten Grand Slam mixed doubles titles and nine Wimbledon women’s singles titles. She has won one hundred and sixty seven single tournaments and one hundred and seventy seven doubles tournaments, which is an open era record. Navratilova won seventy-four matches consecutively, which is the third longest winning streak in women’s tennis history. Along with Margaret Smith Court and Maureen Connolly Brinker, Navratilova holds the record for the maximum consecutive Grand Slam singles tournament championships.