Navratilova, World Champs Honored
Published June 02, 2009 11:19
PARIS, France - With Roland Garros well underway, the tennis family will gather once again for the ITF World Champions Dinner, to be held on Tuesday 2 June, at the Pavillon d'Armenonville in Paris.
As well as celebrating the achievements of the 2008 ITF World Champions, the ITF Board of Directors will present its highest accolade, the Philippe Chatrier Award, to tennis legend Martina Navratilova. Former British Davis Cup player and current television broadcaster Andrew Castle will host the evening with ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti presenting the awards, trophies designed by internationally-recognised sculptor Laurence Broderick, to the World Champions.
This year's recipients are Singles Champions Rafael Nadal (ESP) and Jelena Jankovic (SRB); Doubles Champions Daniel Nestor (CAN) and Nenad Zimonjic (SRB), and Cara Black (ZIM) and Liezel Huber (USA); Junior Champions Yang Tsung-hua (TPE) and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (THA); and Wheelchair Champions Shingo Kunieda (JPN) and Esther Vergeer (NED), who will collect her trophy for a record ninth year.
Martina Navratilova, whose love for tennis led to a 33-year career, paved the way for future generations of her sport, many of whom she was playing against when she finally retired in 2006 at the age of 49. Following her defection to the United States as an 18-year-old, the Prague-born player brought a new level of athleticism to the women's game to become the most dominant player in her sport. In particular her rivalry with Chris Evert from the mid 1970s to late 1980s was legendary, and spurred her on to greater success.
Navratilova went on to win 167 singles, 177 doubles and 10 mixed doubles titles in her career, an open era record for both singles and doubles. Among these successes were 59 Grand Slam titles, including 18 singles, 31 doubles and ten mixed. She led both Czechoslovakia and USA to the Fed Cup title, remaining unbeaten in singles in the event, and spent a total of 332 weeks as world No. 1.
Navratilova saved her best performances for Wimbledon, where she won a record nine singles titles, and in 2003 equalled Billie Jean King's record of 20 titles when she won the mixed with Leander Paes. Earlier the same year she teamed with Paes to win the Australian Open mixed to become only the third woman to win singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at all four Grand Slams. Her final Grand Slam triumph came in her last-ever event at the 2006 US Open where she won the mixed with Bob Bryan to become the oldest Grand Slam winner aged 49.
Navratilova's impact on tennis has been enormous, and she is one of the game's greatest ambassadors. Instantly recognisable and as well known off the court as on it, Navratilova's influence extends to the many charities that she supports.