Martina Navratilova is considered as one of the most successful and greatest tennis players in history of the sport. She started playing tennis at just four years old and entered the pro league when she was 16. Throughout her over 30 year career, Navratilova earned her spot in tennis history. She won an incredible 59 Grand Slam Titles total. This includes 18 Single, 31 Doubles, and 10 Mixed Doubles Grand Slam Wins. The only tennis player to earn more is Margaret Court with 64.
Martina also holds several records like the most Single Wimbledon Championships with nine wins and the oldest tennis player to ever win a Grand Slam at almost 50 years old. In addition to her incredible career, Martina Navaratilova is a big activist. In 1981 she publicly announced that she was gay. She continued to fight for equality throughout her career and life.
Martina Navratilova's successful career began when she started playing tennis at four years old in her home country of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). By 1972 she had won the Czechoslovakian National Tennis Championship at 15. Three years later, she turned pro.
In her first year pro she won her first Grand Slam in Doubles with Chris Evert during the French Open. The two were tough competitors in Singles where they competed against each other 80 times. In 1978 Navratilova won her first singles Grand Slam at Wimbledon against Evert. She would go on to win 8 more Wimbledon Single titles including a record six consecutive wins between 1982 to 1987. Throughout the 80s she also won multiple single titles at the French Open, US Open, and Australian Open.
She retired from single play in 1994 and focused on doubles. Navratilova was especially successful with doubles partner Pam Shriver who she won each of the Grand Slams with in 1984. Navratilova officially retired from tennis after her 2006 US Open Mixed Doubles win.
With such a long and successful career like Martina Navratilova's comes many awards. While playing, she was honored with many titles from the ITF and WTA. Navratilova was the ITF's World Champion in 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986. She was also the WTA's Player of the year each of those years as well as in 1978.
Martina was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. In 2006 she won the Czech Sport Legend Award. Additionally, she was named the Greatest Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in 1983 and 1986. She was also named one of the Top 40 Greatest Athletes of All Time by Sports Illustrated.
All of these great achievements throughout her record breaking career led her to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000.
Navratilova was originally born in Prague, Czechoslovakia as Martina Subertova. Her parents later divorced when she was three and she moved with her mom away from her father. When her mother remarried, she took the last name of her stepfather and Martina Navratilova was born. Her stepdad also became her tennis coach and helped her refine her skills.
Navratilova knew that she would have more opportunities in the US so she moved when she was 18 and eventually became a US Citizen. While playing she became one of the first openly gay athletes and advocated for gay rights as well as other equality rights. Outside of tennis, she has written some fiction books as well as an autobiography. She's also gotten involved with TV as a tennis commentator and an actress. Martina married Julia Lemigova in 2014 and together they are raising Lemigova's two children.
These two incredible tennis players were very close competitors. Throughout their careers they played each other 80 times with Navratilova winning the majority of those matches at 43. However, in the 61 times they've faced each other in tournament finals, Evert has won 36 of those face-offs. Both are ranked among the top female tennis players in history and they certainly helped each other improve throughout their careers.
Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe were two commentators during Wimbledon in 2017 for the BBC. Martina later found out that McEnroe was getting paid around 150,000 pounds for these appearances while she was only getting paid 15,000 pounds. She made a public statement about the disparity in order to bring attention to the issue. The BBC made a statement saying that their contracts are different and the work isn't comparable between the two tennis superstars.
After a 30 year career in tennis, Navratilova has had a lot of doubles partners. She's had the most success with Pam Shriver who she won 20 titles with. Navratilova has also won titles with Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, and Betsy Nagelsen. In mixed doubles she's won with Paul McNamee, Mark Woodforde, and Leander Paes. She won her final Grand Slam title in Mixed Doubles while competing with American tennis player Bob Bryan.
After the 2020 Australian Open "legends" double match, Martina Navratilova stood up on the umpire's chair to address the crowd about changing the name of the Margaret Court Arena. She and McEnroe then protested by walking around with a sign. This was all cut off from the television feed and the two were informed that they broke the rules of the tournament. The two believe that Margaret Court should not have an arena named after her because of Court's anti-LGBTQ views.