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Martina Navratilova

The 2006 US Open was one of many goodbyes. Tennis fans from all over the world were given the chance to watch one of tennis' greatest ambasadors, Andre Agassi say farewell; it was probably the end of Lindsay Davenport's tennis career and most notably the final tournament for Martina Navratilova. Although Agassi was well deserving of all the media attention, how is it that Martina Navratilova was hardly mentioned. Martina maybe the greatest woman's tennis player of all time and yet her departure from tennis was a quiet one. As good of a player as she was, were fans just tired of her and more interested in the young tennis stars of the WTA and ATP. It didn't help that most of Martina's more recent accomplishments came playing doubles which is next to dead as far as the fans are concerned, her earlier retirement from singles is what will be remembered. Regardless of the reasons, Martina Navratilova, one month prior to turning fifty silently closed the doors on her tennis career.

Martina Navratilova was one of the greatest women tennis players of all time despite all of the obsticles that she has had to overcome. From the beginning of her career Navratilova was an outstanding tennis player. She turned pro when she was 16 and after two years on the circuit she defected from Czechoslovokia to the United States trying to pursue her carreer in tennis. Her freedom from communism although very liberating, brought with it many temptations. America's fast food became an addiction for Navratilova and she began to climb the scales. Her weight was a hinderance that she had to fight to overcome, at one point she weighed upwards of 165 pounds. A strict diet and exercise routine helped turn her career back around to the point that her fitness and conditioning became a key factor in her game.

Martina Navratilova's controversial life style may have cost her endorsements but it never interfered with her ability on the court. She was one of the very few elite athletes who openly admitted to being homosexual. Her life outside of tennis, although messy at times never seemed to really hinder her skills on the tennis court. She has won 167 singles titles including 18 Grand Slams and she has also won 177 doubles titles, 41 of which were Grand Slams.

Amidst controversy and scandal, Martina Navratilova accomplished greatness on the tennis court. Perhaps more fittingly than Agassi's farewell, she retired from tennis winning the US Open mixed doubles. She may have left the game quietly but her records speak volumes and her legacy will be felt for many years to come.

The Classic Match: Navratilova vs Evert 1978 Wimbledon Final

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