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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 July, 2003, 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK
Wimbledon legends: Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova
Born: 18/10/56
Prague, Czechoslovakia
Wimbledon singles titles:
1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990
Runner up: 1988, 1989, 1994
Grand Slam titles: 18
Prize money: $20,344,061

Winning the 2003 mixed doubles with Leander Paes took Martina Navratilova to the record-equalling mark of 20 Wimbledon titles.

She shares that honour with Billie Jean King, having already beaten many of her other landmarks, not least by playing a record 279 singles matches at SW19.

Her haul of nine singles titles at Wimbledon is also still to be surpassed, as is her achievement of winning six in a row between 1982 and 1987.

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Navratilova raised the women's game to a new level with power and aggression.

The Czech-born left-hander, who became a naturalised American in 1975, also set new standards with her astonishing fitness levels and commitment.

Amazingly, she had never even seen a grass court until a week before her first appearance there in 1973.

Watching Wimbledon on television as a child, she had no idea how long the grass would be, imagining it would be a couple of inches long like a football pitch.

When she leant down to touch the court at Queen's Club, where she was practicing before Wimbledon, she could not believe how short and tightly-woven it was.

She later declared: "Wimbledon is like a drug. Once you win it for the first time you feel you've just got to do it again and again and again."

At the start of her career, her rivalry with Chris Evert was one of the greatest in any sport. By the end of her singles career, she was slugging it out with Steffi Graf.

"If I ever reached the stage where winning Wimbledon was no big deal, I'd know it was time for me to get out of the game," she once said.

She retired in 1994, although later returned to play doubles matches, teaming up with Paes this year for that famous 20th title.





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