Born on this day in Prague, Czechoslovakia, tennis legend Martina Navratilova (1956-) revolutionized the game with her talent and aggressiveness. With skill and actions that defined commitment, she moved to the U.S. in 1975 and was the most outstanding woman tennis player of the 1980s.
Known for her outspoken honesty and intelligence, she said of her success, "I just try to concentrate on concentrating."
Opponent Chris Evert noted that Navratilova "had everything down to a science, including her diet, and that was an inspiration to me. I think she helped me to be a better athlete."
An excellent serve-and-volley player, the Czech left-hander said with typical candor, "Whoever said, 'It's not whether you win or lose that counts,' probably lost."
Navratilova retired from singles play following the 1994 season with 167 tournament victories, more than any player, male or female, and 166 doubles titles. This included nine Wimbledon singles titles, four U.S. open titles, three Australian Opens, and two French Opens.
"I think the key is for women not to set any limits," she said, winning 56 Grand Slam titles--second only to Margaret Smith Court --and spending 332 weeks ranked No. 1 in the world.
Emerging from retirement in 2000, in May 2002 she won the doubles title with Natasha Zvereva at the Madrid Open. "The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else," Navratilova said.
"When Michael Jordan comes back he still makes an All-Star team and plays well because he's great," she said. "And I can still play this game and certainly I can still play it on grass. So don't look at the age, look at the ability."