International superstar Martina Navratilova is arguably the best tennis player ever to step on the court.
Over the course of a career that has spanned an amazing four decades, she has won 59 grand slam crowns, a record 9 Wimbledon single’s champions, and has overcome the odds to become both one of the most successful tennis players ever and an equally successful leader and role model.
Born October 18, 1956, in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Martina emigrated to the United States at the age of 19 to leave behind the oppressive Communist regime in power in her home country. By 1980, she had already earned two Wimbledon titles, been named tour player of the year twice, and won a countless number of singles and doubles matches; she was the most dominant player in tennis at the time. She went on to win another 7 Wimbledon single’s championships in the following decade and during the 1983 season, lost only one of the 87 matches she played that year. In 1981, she was granted U.S. citizenship, and in 2008, she regained her Czech citizenship.
Over the course of her tennis career, Martina was the WTA’s “Tour Player of the Year” seven times, named the Associated Press’s “Female Athlete of the Year” and declared one of the “Top Forty Athletes of All-time” by Sports Illustrated.
After being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Martina continued to compete in a variety of Grand Slams, as well as at the 2004 Olympics Games, but as she approached her fiftieth birthday in 2006, she decided to leave the tour circuit behind after her last Grand Slam championship, a mixed-doubles win with Bob Bryan. Still in phenomenal shape on the verge of fifty, she was the oldest player to ever win a Grand Slam title.
Martina has been the recipient of numerous international awards, including the Ellis Island Award (2011), the National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign (2000), and the Equality Forum’s International Role Model Award (2007).
In 2010, Martina faced her toughest opponent ever, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was treated successfully with a lumpectomy and radiation. Approaching the cancer like her tennis opponents – with a mixture of determination and raw power – Martina did not let cancer slow her down. She participated in the Hit for Haiti charity tennis match, played hockey in the three days leading up to her a lumpectomy, and did the biking portion of a triathlon two weeks after the procedure. Today, she speaks out internationally about her experience in yet in hopes of raising awareness among women about the importance of preventative health screenings.
Knowing first hand what it takes to overcome adversity and find success, Martina is a compelling advocate for active living, strong determination and aggressive goal-setting. An accomplished writer, Martina has written books in both the fiction and non-fiction genres, including her most recent one, “Shape Your Self,” a guide to personal fitness and healthy living.
Since 2007, Martina has served as AARP’s Health and Fitness Ambassador. By working with AARP, she has been instrumental in helping its 39 million members lead an active lifestyle at any age. Martina also volunteers for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, a unique international association of the greatest living sporting legends who give their time to help disadvantaged kids compete in sports.
Well known for her sharp wit as well as her candid and powerful speeches, Martina has become an in-demand speaker,
delivering keynote addresses and in-depth commentary to those around the world on many various issues including:
- What it takes to become a champion
- Setting and achieving goals
- Healthy lifestyle and fitness
- Overcoming adversity
- Human rights and equality
Martina has also taken her articulate, intelligent and outspoken commentary beyond the speaker’s circuit, acting as an on-air tennis commentator for several major sports and news networks. Martina currently resides in Aspen, Colorado, but is always in motion, traveling the world, speaking at different events, playing in numerous exhibition matches, and tirelessly promoting all of the issues that are close to her heart.