No.1 Spotlight: Martina Navratilova
Published April 17, 2013 12:00
A true trailblazer, Martina Navratilova's embrace of modern training and nutritional regimes transformed her game and women's tennis in the process.
Born behind the iron curtain in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Navratilova was raised on clay but it was the faster surfaces where her unadulterated attacking instincts came into their own. Unsurprisingly, it was Wimbledon where she made her biggest mark, winning her maiden Grand Slam there in 1978 and going on to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish a further eight times over the next 12 years.
Not that her success was confined to the lawns of the All-England Club. In a career that spanned a truly remarkable 31 years, Navratilova won 344 titles in singles and doubles - 49 coming at majors - and spent 332 weeks, spread over nine years, at No.1 in the rankings.
Such was her longevity, in fact, that nine years after her initial retirement in 1994 - and now well into her fifth decade - Navratilova returned to win mixed doubles titles at the US Open and, fittingly, Wimbledon before finally hanging up her racquets for good in 2006.
• Winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, tied for the second-most of the Open Era. They consist of an all-time record nine at Wimbledon; also four US Open, three Australian Open and two French Open titles
• Completed career Grand Slam at 1983 US Open; went on to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time after winning 1984 French Open and in fact won six consecutive Grand Slam titles in 1983-84, equaling record of Maureen Connolly and Margaret Court
• One of three women to win singles, doubles and mixed titles at least once at every Grand Slam; won all three titles at 1987 US Open to join Margaret Court and Billie Jean King as the only Open Era "Triple Crown' winners
• Owns 31 Grand Slam doubles titles, the most of all-time, and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, the most of the Open Era
• Her 19 games conceded en route to the 1983 US Open title is record for fewest allowed for a Grand Slam titlist
• 167 career singles titles and 177 doubles titles are all-time records for any player, male or female; swept singles and doubles at same event a record 84 times
• Won an Open Era record 1,442 singles matches and a record 306 Grand Slam matches
• Owns longest Open Era singles (74) and doubles (109 with Pam Shriver) match winning streaks
• First achieved No.1 ranking on July 10, 1978 after winning first Grand Slam at Wimbledon; 332 weeks in the top spot included streak of three years in 1982-85; only Steffi Graf has been ranked No.1 for more total weeks or had a longer streak. Has the record for most weeks spent as doubles No.1 with 237 weeks
• First player to rank at No.1 in singles and doubles simultaneously in September 1984 and ended up spending a record 103 weeks as simultaneous singles and doubles No.1
• Finished season in Top 10 a record 20 straight years from 1975 through 1994. During same stretch, had a record 20 straight years in the Top 10 prize money list. Also led the prize money list for a record eight straight years from 1979 through 1986
• In 1983, posted best season winning percentage (86-1, .989) of Open Era
• Her 13 straight titles won in 1984 is a record and her 21 straight years winning at least one singles title from 1974 through 1994 is also a record. Also reached a record 23 straight finals between 1983 and 1984
• Her 12 titles in Chicago is the most any player has ever won at a single tournament
• Played season-ending WTA Championships a record 21 times, winning a record eight singles titles and a record 11 doubles titles
• At 2004 Wimbledon, became oldest woman to win a singles match in Open Era (47 years, 8 months)
• Played final match of career in 2006 US Open mixed doubles final, where alongside Bob Bryan she became oldest woman to win a Grand Slam title a month short of her 50th birthday
• Undefeated in Fed Cup singles (20-0); also 20-1 in doubles
• Won WTA's Player Of The Year Award seven times, including five straight from 1982 through 1986
• Won WTA's Doubles Team Of The Year Award a record 11 times, eight of those coming with Pam Shriver
• Inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000
• Supports numerous non-profit groups and charitable causes related to animal rights, underprivileged children and gay rights