Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova is a former Czech-born American professional tennis player, who is considered to be one of the greatest female tennis players of all time.

Date of Birth: 18 October 1956
Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic
Residence: Miami, Florida, United States
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
Weight: 146 lbs (66 kg)
Plays: Left-handed (one-handed backhand)
Turned Pro: 1974

Martina Navratilova was born on October 18, 1956, in Prague, Czechia, to Jana Navratilova and Mirek Subert. After her mother divorced her father and remarried, Navratilova’s stepfather, Miroslav Navratil, eventually became her first tennis coach.

Martina began playing at the age of four by hitting a tennis ball off a concrete wall before starting to play more regularly at age seven. Aside from the glittering career she went on to have, Navratilova is also known for defecting from the then communist Czechoslovakia to the United States as an 18-year-old. She was granted a green card, before becoming a US citizen in 1981.

After developing very quickly as a junior player, Navratilova made her first Grand Slam appearance at the 1973 French Open, where she reached the quarterfinal. Another quarterfinal appearance followed in Paris the following year. Navratilova’s first two major finals came in 1975 at the Australian Open and the French Open. They ended in defeast to Evonne Goolagong and Chris Evert respectively.

Her French Open loss to Evert is notable since it was their first major final in what would become one of the greatest rivalries in the history of tennis. After three Grand Slam semifinal losses by the end of 1977, Navratilova’s maiden Grand Slam title came at Wimbledon in 1978. She avenged her French Open loss to Evert by beating her 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.

12 months later, Navratilova retained her title in London by triumphing over Evert once again. 1980 did not bring any further major successes, but after narrowly losing the 1981 US Open final to Tracy Austin, Navratilova claimed three more Grand Slams by the end of 1982 at the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open.

From 1983 to 1987, Navratilova dominated the sport. This was particularly the case in 1983 and 1984. She won six Grand Slam titles in those years, comprising of two Wimbledon Championships, two US Opens, and a single Australian Open and French Open title each.

Between 1985 and 1987, Navratilova triumphed in five of the ten Grand Slam finals that she reached. Three of these were at Wimbledon, while the other two were at the US Open and Australian Open. From 1988 to 1994, the Czech-American lost six of the seven Grand Slam finals that she played in. Her sole win was claiming an unprecedented ninth Wimbledon singles title in 1990, which remains a record in the men’s or women’s game.

Navratilova also had an extraordinary doubles career. She won a scarcely believable 41 Grand Slams across women’s and mixed doubles. This included partnering with players like Evert, Pam Shriver, Peter Fleming, Mark Woodforde, and Bob Bryan.

With 354 titles across singles and doubles, Navratilova is the most decorated tennis player ever. She is also remembered for her epic rivalry with Chris Evert, as well as with Steffi Graf, who would go on to win 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Navratilova played Evert in 14 Grand Slam finals, triumphing in 10 of them, while she won two of her six major finals against Graf.

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