Martina Navratilova — the India connection
Tennis great Martina Navratilova has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The 53-year-old is expected to begin six weeks of radiation therapy in May following minor invasive surgery.
Despite her impressive tennis stats — 18 Grand Slam singles titles including nine wins at Wimbledon — fans in India would perhaps treasure the Czech-born Navratilova’s mixed doubles partnership with India’s Leander Paes.
In 2003, they teamed up to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon — making Navratilova, then 46, the oldest Grand Slam champion ever.
But their U.S. Open title dreams went awry when Paes was diagnosed with a cyst in his brain.
Navratilova, who was favoured to achieve yet another doubles milestone in New York, opted not to play and stayed away from mixed doubles till Paes recovered and returned the following year.
The two would never ever again win a Grand Slam crown together but Paes acknowledged Navratilova’s role in his recovery and comeback, describing her as a “soulmate” who had stood by him through trying times.
Navratilova, who became a U.S. citizen in 1981, retired from competitive tennis in September 2006 but keeps herself active.
She’s a health and fitness ambassador for AARP, a non-profit organisation that helps people over 50 improve the quality of their lives, and still plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa this December.
Here’s wishing one of the greatest tennis players of all time a quick recovery.
SLIDESHOW – Martina Navratilova: Over the Years