The Greatest: The Life of Tennis Icon Martina Navratilova

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 Navratilova (CZE) in action during the Wimbledon No1 Court Celebrations for the Wimbledon Foundation

Martina Navratilova (CZE) in action during the Wimbledon No1 Court Celebrations for the Wimbledon Foundation. Photo By Mark Greenwood/IPS/Shutterstock

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.

She Was Hitting Tennis Balls at the Age of Four

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 Navratilova Tennis Player Martina Navratilova At Wimbledon

Martina Navratilova Tennis Player Martina Navratilova At Wimbledon. Photo By Monty Fresco/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

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.

A Devoted Activist

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.

Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova on Centre Court

Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova on Centre Court. Photo By James Veysey/Shutterstock

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.