Martina Navratilova Fast Facts

Here is a look at the life of gay rights advocate and tennis great Martina Navratilova.


Birth date: October 18, 1956
Birth place: Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic)
    Birth name: Martina Subertova
    Father: Miroslav Subert
    Mother: Jana Navratilova
    Marriage: Julia Lemigova (December 15, 2014-present)

    Other Facts

    Her parents divorced when she was young. She was raised by her stepfather, Mirek Navratil, and took his last name. He was her first tennis coach.
    She plays tennis left-handed.
    Martina Navratilova speaks out


      Martina Navratilova speaks out


    Martina Navratilova speaks out 05:00

    Navratilova talks Nadal's shock defeat


      Navratilova talks Nadal’s shock defeat


    Navratilova talks Nadal’s shock defeat 02:41

    Kvitova and Navratilova's Wimbledon


      Kvitova and Navratilova’s Wimbledon


    Kvitova and Navratilova’s Wimbledon 07:06

    She holds the record for most Open Era Wimbledon championship wins with nine, including six consecutive.
    She was one of the first openly gay sports figures.
    Sports Illustrated named her one of the “Top Forty Athletes of All-Time.”


    1972 – Wins the Czech National Championship.
    1975 – At the age of 18, Navratilova defects to the United States.
    1978 – Wins her first singles title at Wimbledon defeating Chris Evert. The duo goes on to meet in 80 matches over the course of 16 years, and still maintain a close friendship.
    1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 – Is named Player of the Year by the Women’s Tennis Association.
    1981 – Becomes a naturalized citizen of the United States.
    1983 – Wins her first US Open.
    1985 – Releases her autobiography “Martina.”
    1986 – Returns to Czechoslovakia for the first time to compete, for the United States, in a tennis match in Prague.
    1991 – Ex-girlfriend Judy Nelson files a lawsuit in Texas after Navratilova refuses to honor what Nelson alleges is a “nonmarital cohabitation agreement” they both signed in 1986. They later settle out of court.
    1992 – Breaks the tournament titles record with 158 titles, more than any other person.
    1994 – Retires from playing singles having won 167 titles.
    2003 – Becomes the oldest player to compete in the Fed Cup.
    2004 – Participates in the Summer Olympics in Athens as the oldest tennis player.
    2006 – In her final Grand Slam, Navratilova competes at the US Open in the mixed-doubles championship match. After winning, she becomes the oldest player to win a Grand Slam title.
    February 24, 2010 – Is diagnosed with a non-invasive breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
    March 15, 2010 – Undergoes a lumpectomy.
    May 12, 2010 – Begins radiation treatment at L’Institut Curie in Paris.
    June 5, 2010 – Competes in the senior women’s doubles at the French Open and wins.
    March 27, 2012 – Is eliminated as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”
    December 8, 2014 – Announces she will be joining the coaching team of Agnieszka Radwanska in 2015.
    April 24, 2015 – Steps down as the part-time coach of Radwanska after underestimating the time necessary to “make this a proper and good situation for both Agnieszka and me.”
    June 1, 2017 – Navratilova writes a public letter calling former Australian tennis player Margaret Court a “racist and a homophobe” after Court made a comment that tennis is “full of lesbians.”
    February 17, 2019 – Pens an article in The Sunday Times that claims it is “insane” that “hundreds of athletes who have changed gender by declaration and limited hormone treatment have already achieved honors as women that were beyond their capabilities as men.” Her comments are immediately criticized and called “transphobic” by transgender athletes and LGBT activists on social media. Navratilova has rejected the accusations of transphobia.
    February 19, 2019 – Athlete Ally removes Navratilova from its advisory board following her article in The Sunday Times. The nonprofit states, “As an organization dedicated to addressing root causes of homophobia and transphobia in and through sport, we will only affiliate with those committed to the same goal, and not those who further misinformation or discrimination in any way.”
      March 3, 2019 – In a post on her website, Navratilova apologizes for the controversy caused by her February 17 article. She writes that she was, “not suggesting that transgender athletes in general are cheats.” She acknowledges that she does not have all the answers concerning physical advantages transgender athletes may have in some women’s sports. She calls for debate based on, “science, objectivity and the best interests of women’s sport as a whole.”
      July 2020 – More than 300 female athletes, including Navratilova, sign a letter addressed to the Board of Governors of the National College Athletic Association opposing transgender inclusion in college sports.




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