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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 15:57 GMT 16:57 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
Martina Navratilova took her haul of Wimbledon titles to a record-equalling 20 in 2003 after victory in the mixed doubles with Leander Paes.

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.

In that time she totted up a toal of nine singles titles, six of which came in successive summers from 1982.

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."

And so it proved. Navratilova won her first title in 1978 against Chris Evert, who she beat again 12 months later.

Evert was on the receiving end again in 1982 when Navratilova started her six year domination of Wimbledon during which she beat Andrea Jaeger, Evert again, and again (for the fifth time), Hana Mandlikova and Steffi Graf.

It was Graf who finally broke the spell becoming the first person to beat Navratilova in a Wimbledon singles final winning 6-1 in the third in both 1988 and 1989.

But Navratilova was not finished yet. She reached her ninth successive final in 1990 and overwhelmed Zina Garrison.

"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, the year she lost her last final appearance against Conchita Martinez, although later returned to play doubles matches, teaming up with Paes in 2003 for that famous 20th title.

In 2004, Navratilova returned to the scene of her great triumphs to compete again in the singles competition.





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