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Martina Navratilova
Life Span: Born 18th October 1956, in Prague.
Star Sign: Libra
Famous As: World Gland Slam Tennis Champion

Childhood: Navratilova was born Martina Subertova, but her name changed when her mother remarried, to Miroslav Navrátil in 1959. Martina was coached from the age of about 3 by her step father.
She showed astounding talent from an early age, and soon began competing in national junior championships in Czechoslavakia. In 1972, at just 15, she won the national tennis championship.

Career: In 1973, after she turned 16, Martina was able to play in professional tournaments. The first win came in 1974 at the women's singles tournament in Orlando, Florida.
Her first Grand Slam tournaments came in 1975, the Australian and French Open championships. She came through both as a runner up to Evonne Goolagong and Chris Evert respectively. Evert was to become her great challenge and rival of the seventies, after she lost to her in the semi-finals of the US Open that same year.
While playing in the US Open, she declared her intent to defect from Czechoslovakia (then part of the Soviet Union) and received her US Green Card.
Her many Gland Slam titles started in the latter years of the seventies, beginning with Wimbledon in 1978. She was to go on to win at Wimbledon a further 8 times in her career - a record that remains unbeaten.
Her other Grand Slams comprised of 4 US Open titles, 3 Australian Open titles and 2 at the French Open. 18 in total, including a record of 6 consecutive Grand Slam wins.
In 1981, Navratilova became a US citizen, and represented it (instead of Czechoslovakia) when she played around the world from that point on.
She narrowly missed out on achieving all four Grand Slam single titles in the same year, in 1984, when she was beaten in the Australian Open by Helena Sukova.
Her long professional partnership with Pam Shriver in the doubles competitions won them a record breaking string of titles - 109 straight wins between 1983 and 1985, ranking Navratilova as No. 1 doubles player in the world for three years.
Her greatest record came as she won the women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles titles at the US Open - only the third player in history to win all three at the same Grand Slam event.
Aside from tennis, Martina is something of an activist, involved with animal cruelty, children's charities and gay rights. She is also a strong advocate of vegetarianism, appearing in advertisements for PETA.

Friends & Relationships: Navratilova came out in 1981 - among the first world famous sports professionals to do so. Her first openly lesbian relationship in the public eye was with Rita Mae Brown, an american author and screenwriter.
Navratilova later found herself embroiled in a serious legal battle, after her split with long term partner Judy Nelson (also an author, and married with two sons) in 1991. The press covered the case in great detail, and Nelson went on to write two books about the affair; 'Love Match: Nelson vs. Navratilova' and 'Choices: My Journey After Leaving my Husband for Martina and a Lesbian Life'.

Greatest Achievements: Many would say her entire career has been one long string of record-breaking achievements, too numerous to list completely here. But she has received many honours since officially retiring from the women's singles tour in 1994, including her induction into the tennis hall of fame in 2000, and the unveiling of her likeness in Prague's waxwork museum.
And she is still playing. In 2003, she won the mixed doubles with Leander Paes, at Wimbledon. Thus she is also now, at 46, the oldest person ever to win a Grand Slam title.

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