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Martina Navratilova's Biography

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Martina Navratilova was born on 18 October 1956 in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

The winner of a record nine Wimbledon women's singles tennis titles and a total of no less than 167 singles tournaments including 18 Grand Slam titles, Martina Navratilova is the most successful female tennis player in the modern game.

Martina Navratilova began her journey at the age of six when she was given tennis lessons and entered her first tournament two years later. She won the Czechoslovakian Women's singles title in 1972 when just sixteen.

After appearing in the US Open in 1975 and reaching the quarter finals, Navratilova asked for political asylum and defected, she later became an American citizen.

In 1978 she won the first of her Wimbledon titles defeating Chris Evert of the US. A left-hander, Navratilova's aggression and powerful serve and volley style was to become the hallmark of her game. As victory followed victory, she found herself the world’s number one by the early eighties.

With success in all of the Grand Slam arenas, including an unprecedented six consecutive Wimbledon titles, Navratilova ruled the women's tennis world. She notched up her ninth Wimbledon win in 1990 but seeing herself past her prime, decided to retire from the singles game in 1994 after losing to Spain’s Conchita Martinez in the Wimbledon final.

Navratilova continued to play in major doubles tournaments and after announcing retirement from that, came back in 2002 to further championship success.

Incredibly, at the age of 47, Martina Navratilova made a return to the singles game at Wimbledon in 2004 but after making it through a first round match, she was knocked out in the following round.

Navratilova's doubles play continued to thrive and in August 2006 she notched up her 177th doubles title when partnering Nadia Petrova for the first time, they won the Rogers Cup 6-1, 6-2.

Navratilova even topped that - her last professional match was another final victory. This time, in the mixed doubles of the US Open, she and Bob Bryan took the title by defeating Kveta Peschke and Martin Damm of the Czech Republic in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.

After the match, Martina Navratilova said:

"Tennis is such a great life. It has given me such a great life, but I'm ready sort of to move on. I still will stay in tennis and refocus my efforts elsewhere, but, I was just ready to go."

Martina Navratilova has won more prize money than any other woman in tennis.

Martina Navratilova's official website includes details of her fitness book and equipment, Shape Your Self.

In March 2007, the BBC reported that "an exhibition of artwork produced by tennis star Martina Navratilova hitting tennis balls dipped in paint has opened in Paris."

In 2008, Martina Navratilova was runner-up on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

In April 2010, People magazine reported that Martina Navratilova had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

However, in July 2010, the BBC reported that Martina Navratilova felt as 'good as new' following her treatment for breast cancer.

In 2012, Martina Navratilova was partnered by Tony Dovolani in Dancing with the Stars, but they were the first pair to be eliminated from the show.

In January 2023, Martina revealed that she had been diagnosed with both throat and breast cancer.

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