Tennis legend Martina Navratilova said Monday she has been diagnosed with both throat cancer and breast cancer.
“This double whammy is serious but still fixable,” said the 66-year-old in a statement. “I’m hoping for a favorable outcome. It’s going to stink for a while, but I’ll fight with all have I got.”
Navratilova’s fighting spirit is well-documented; she won a total of 59 Grand Slam titles -- in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. And she’s already beaten cancer once before.
After discovering an enlarged lymph node in her neck during the WTA Finals in Fort Worth back in November, she underwent testing. That was when doctors discovered Stage 1 throat cancer and later Stage 1 breast cancer. Specifically, it is human papillomavirus (HPV), one of the more treatable cancers.
Thinking of @Martina today and supporting her journey, like she did mine, with love and prayers. This is a woman who takes on challenges with strength and resilience…You got this, Martina!❤️— Chris Evert (@ChrissieEvert) January 2, 2023
Navratilova won’t be working the upcoming Australian Open for Tennis Channel, but hopes to arrange some Zoom appearances in the near future.
Navratilova told her good friend Pam Shriver several weeks ago, ahead of the public announcement.
“You look at your skills as an athlete, to compete,” Shriver said from her home in California, “and in her case to compete and be the best while leaving no stone unturned -- as far as finding things out, researching and understanding how to put together the best team. She was one of the first in tennis to have a team. Some of those traits will serve her well once again.”
Shriver, an analyst for Tennis Channel and ESPN, won 79 doubles titles playing with Navratilova, including 21 majors.
“You’ve got to put together quite the collaborative medical approach, and there will be no question that she’ll put together the best team,” Shriver said. “And that gives all of us great assurance. And the way she competes, the way she relies on your ability to roll up your sleeves and compete.”
In 2010, at the age of 53, when Navratilova was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she cried for “about 15 seconds” and then asked her doctor, “OK, what do we do? What’s the next step?”
This time, the prognosis is said to be good and her treatments begin next week, primarily in New York City.