Arguably, Martina Navratilova is the greatest female tennis player of all time, and it’s easy to see why. In four decades, she’s snatched 18 Grand Slam titles, 31 major women’s double titles, and ten major mixed double titles!
Martina took tennis to a whole other level with her perfect balance of swiftness and aggression. Her matches were full of passion, yet she kept her cool with every swing. Here’s her incredible story.
Born in Prague in 1956, Martina grew up in a super athletic family. Her mom was a tennis player herself, as well as an accomplished gymnast and ski instructor. Her grandmother also had tennis in her blood and was ranked No. 2 among Czech women.
Martina held her first tennis ball when she was four years old and spent her time hitting it off walls around the house. At the age of seven, she began practicing regularly, and at 15, she won her first national championship. She started her professional career in the ‘70s and has made history ever since.
In 2019, Martina got in a bit of trouble for comments she made on trans athletes. She used the word “cheating” when discussing their participation in women’s sport. Immediately, she was deemed transphobic and received a bunch of backlashes.
A lesbian herself, Martina is all for LGBT rights. But she knows how to separate between the athletic world and one’s personal life. She claims that “trans rights and elite sports are two different things.” But she agrees that the topic is complicated and says that more research is needed in order to decide.