Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wishes for Martina

The big tennis news of today is Martin Navratilova's diagnosis with breast cancer, and I'd like to join the rest of the tennis world in expressing my well wishes - get well soon.

I don't think we can underestimate the influence Navratilova has had on the game. I don't know if anyone will ever break her record number of Slam titles and I doubt any other player will have the extraordinary longevity she has had. She is truly remarkable - anyone who watched the second Hit for Haiti will testify that she was pretty much the fiercest player on the court and she hit both Steffi Graf and Lindsay Davenport off it.

Her rivalry with Chris Evert is also one of the defining rivalries of the sport and one that will certainly be remembered for a long time. And even after her retirement from tennis, she has continued to be an important presence, someone whose opinion is respected and whose voice carries real weight. No matter how exclusive any nominated tennis hall of fame might be, Navratilova would be in there. No question.

So get well soon, Martina. If there is a tennis player in history who can be characterised as a fighter, it is you. Lay a smackdown on that disease. Tennis isn't done with you yet. The Martina story is not over.

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