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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 February, 2004, 01:48 GMT
Navratilova bows out with defeat
Martina Navratilova
Navratilova will not play the Australian Open again
Martina Navratilova's last match at the Australian Open ended in defeat in the mixed doubles final.

Defending champions Navratilova and Leander Paes were beaten 6-1 7-6 by Elena Bovina and Nenad Zimonjic.

The 47-year-old multiple Grand Slam champion announced afterwards that she would not be playing at the Australian Open again.

However, she and Paes will compete in the remaining three Grand Slam events this year.

Navratilova has won 167 singles titles and 173 in doubles, including a total of 58 Grand Slam titles.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN RECORD
Played: 11
Singles titles: Three
Doubles titles: Nine (inc. one mixed)
"I really wanted to go on a winning note," said Navratilova.

"Losing in a final really stinks. It's almost better to lose earlier.

"But at the same time, it's nice to be on that stage and able to say goodbye properly. You just want to do it on a winning note."

Navratilova and Paes, who has just returned from a five-month lay-off with a serious illness, were overwhelmed in the first set.

However, they fought back from a break down in the second and looked like forcing a decider with some inspired play.

But Bovina and Zimonjic stepped up their play in the tiebreak and won ther first title together.

Bovina, a mixed doubles finalist at the French Open in 2002, was thrilled with her maiden Grand Slam triumph.

"When I was a junior my coach made us bury all the trophies for second and third place," the 20-year-old said.

"I really wanted to keep this one today, so I really tried. It's just great to get a trophy. Doesn't matter if its singles, doubles, mixed doubles. It's first place, it's fantastic for me."





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