Tennis champion Martina Navratilova and her success story
This Czech-American tennis player, who though has now retired, has made such an indelible mark in the world of tennis that people shall continue to remember her for ages to come. Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, she found her first tennis coach in her mother, who raised her up as a single parent from her tender age of three. She started out her stint in tennis quite early on and tasted success at the age of 15, when she won the Czechoslovakia National Tennis championship. Since then, there was no looking back.
The very next year, in 1973, she debuted in the United States Lawn Tennis Association’s professional tour. However, her first actual “professional” move was winning the singles title in Orlando, Florida in 1974. She captured the World No.1 ranking for the first time, when she won the Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, defeating Chris Evert. She won this thrice, besides winning also the French Open in 1982. Thereafter, she became the most dominant player in the territory of women’s tennis. The period spanning from 1982-84 was the most prosperous for her, during which she had her maximum victories, despite a few setbacks. Her winning streak continued unabated even in the couple of years that followed, during which she made a record of 74-matches win. The match between her and Chrish Evert in the French Open final of 1985, is considered by many to be the best women’s match of all times.
Though in the next phase of her career, she had tough opponents on the field, such as Steffi Graf, Conchita Martenez, Tatiana Panova etc., she managed to retain her shine in the sky of world tennis in her own way even during the early half of the 2000s.
Her last career match was in 2006 at Wimbledon, having won 167 singles titles and 177 doubles titles. She holds records for being one of the three women to have attained the Grand Slam “Boxed Set” – singles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles, longest winning streaks, and most consecutive titles. She has undergone major personal turmoil in her journey – controversies centred around her nationality and citizenship, her being diagnosed with breast cancer and its ensuing treatment, being hospitalized for developing pulmonary oedema while attempting to climb Mt.Kilimanjaro etc.
A member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, she also has her name associated with AARP, where she serves as the Health and Fitness Ambassador, thus being a role model of countless women across the world. An achiever in the true sense of the term, she is also involved with many charitable organizations that work for animal rights, underprivileged and gay rights. The Human Rights Campaign honoured her with the National Equality Award in 2000. Practising vegetarianism herself, she had made appearances in ad campaigns for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Apart from gay and lesbian rights, which she always advocates for very vehemently, she has also been quite vocal on a number of sensitive political issues, the principal one being her opposition to Communism. The fact that she had to escape from Czechoslovakia had planted a deep root of bitterness in her mind against the ideology in general, and Soviet Union’s control over Czechoslovakia in particular. Thus, here’s a sportswoman who’s not a mere sportswoman but much more than that! She is a strong woman who stands by what she believes in, and is not averse to speaking her mind. Every woman out there can learn a lesson or two from her; her accomplishments continue to inspire millions.