Martina Navratilova (Born: October 18, 1956) is a retired Czech and American tennis player and coach. She was one of the world’s top tennis players that dominated the sport in the 1970s and 1980s. This Czechoslovakia native began playing tennis at a young age. When she was 4, she started hitting tennis balls toward a wall and by 7; she started playing daily and spending countless hours on the tennis court working on her stroke and footwork. By the age of 9, she took lessons from Czech champion George Parma and by 16, she turned pro and began competing in the United States.
Greatest Sporting Achievements
Billie Jean King, former World No. 1 player said Navratilova is “the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who’s ever lived.” Martina Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam titles including an all-time record 9 at Wimbledon (4 US Opens, 3 Australian Opens and 2 French Opens). She remained 332 weeks at No. 1 after winning a Grand Slam title on July 10, 1978 at Wimbledon.
What Made Her So Good?
With Czechoslovakia squarely under the Soviet control, she continued to pursue a career in the US and joined the 1975 US Open. She made that choice knowing she couldn’t communicate with her family for years and stripped off her Czech citizenship but the occurrence had set her career up for an extraordinary level of accomplishment. She had an attacking serve and volley. She’s known to have transformed tennis by her outstanding athleticism and ferociousness. She brought athleticism to a complete new level with her training system like cross-training, a choice where you go to the gym or play basketball to be fit for tennis.
What You May Not Know
- In 1962 Navratilova’s mother remarried to Mirek Navratil. The name on her birth certificate is Martina Šubertová. Martina took her stepdad’s last name and tweaked it slightly, adding an “ova” to make it sound more feminine. She became close to her new father as he was also her first tennis coach.
- Martina defected to the US in 1975 at the age of 18, and became a U.S. citizen in 1981.
- Martina Navratilova’s grandmother was an international tennis player. Tennis runs through their blood.
- A few years after her retirement, Martina debuted on Dancing with the Stars in March 2012.
Was she a legend?
Do you agree with Martina Navratilova being a legend of tennis?
How would you rate their greatness? (from good to 'the best')