Martina Navratilova

Czechoslovakia/U. S. A.
Born 18/10/1956
Australian Open 1981,1983,1985
French Open 1982,1984
Wimbledon 1978,1979,1982,1983,1984,1985,1986,1987,1990
US Open 1983,1984,1986,1987

Martina Navratilova was the greatest serve volley player the women's game has ever seen. Navratilova hit the ball hard from the baseline and had a perfect grass court game. She denied her great rival Chris Evert many times at Wimbledon. However, on slower surfaces Evert scored more victories. Navratilova showed her emotions while Evert was poker-faced. Navratilova arrived on the scene as a 16 year old in 1973 when she reached the quarters at the French. At the 1975 Australian Navratilova beat eleven times champion Margaret Court before losing to Evonnne Goolagong in the final. In the French final and the US semis Martina lost to Evert. Evert beat her again in the Wimbledon semis in 1976. At Wimbledon 1978 Navratilova took her first Grand Slam title over Goolagong-Cawley and Evert. In 1979 she retained her title over Evert-Lloyd. At Wimbledon 1980 Navratilova survived an epic quarter final against veteran Billie Jean King before losing to Evert-Lloyd in the semis. She lost in the semis of Wimbledon 1981 to Mandlikova. At the US she lost the final to Tracy Austin on a final set tie break. Navratilova won the Australian over Evert-Lloyd. Navratilova then entered her peak years, when she was fitter than just about any woman that had come before her. She won the French in 1982 and then won Wimbledon over Evert-Lloyd. She was runner-up in the Australian to Evert-Lloyd. She then won the 1983 Wimbledon without being tested. At the US she beat Evert-Lloyd in the final. She then won the Australian. At the 1984 French Open Navratilova beat Mandlikova and Evert-Lloyd to win the title (she was now the holder of all four Grand Slams). She beat Evert-Lloyd again in the Wimbledon and US finals (she'd now won six Grand Slams in a row). Going for a calendar year Grand Slam, Navratilova lost a tough semi final in the Australian to Helena Sukova. She beat Evert-Lloyd again in the 1985 Australian and Wimbledon finals, but at the French Evert-Lloyd beat her in a great final. Navratilova also lost an epic US final to Mandlikova. Evert-Lloyd beat her in a three set French Open final in 1986. At Wimbledon Navratilova won the title again, this time over Mandlikova. Navratilova beat Steffi Graf and Helena Sukova to win the US. She lost the 1987 Australian final to Mandlikova. At the French she lost a tough final to Graf 8-6 in the third set. At Wimbledon she beat Evert (who by now was past her best) and Graf to win a record-equalling eighth title. In the US final Navratilova beat Graf again. At the first Australian Open at Melbourne Park Navratilova lost in the semis to Evert (it was Evert's last Grand Slam final). At Wimbledon Navratilova lost a tough final to Graf. By the end of 1988 Martina was 32 and it seemed her winning days were behind her. She lost to Graf in the Wimbledon and US finals in 1989, but at Wimbledon 1990 Graf lost surprisingly to Zina Garrison Jackson in the semis. Navratilova beat Garrison in straight sets to win a record ninth title. At the 1991 US Open Navratilova beat Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Steffi Graf before losing in the final to Monica Seles. She was still good enough to reach the Wimbledon final in 1994, where she lost to Conchita Martinez. After losing the 1994 final Martina retired from singles. She did enter the Wimbledon singles one more time a decade later when she was 47 and won her opening round easily before bowing out in round two. Martina had continued to play doubles and in 2003 tied Billie Jean King's record of 20 Wimbledon titles when she won the mixed doubles with Leander Paes. Her 59th and last Grand Slam title was the 2006 U. S. Open mixed doubles. She was nearly 50 and was the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam title.