The Tennis Greats: Martina Navratilova
In common with the Williams sisters, Martina Navratilova has had to put up with a level of criticism that was out of all measure with her game and her personality. When one considers that in the course of her career Navratilova won titles as a singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles player, one would be justified in asking why she would be criticised. When one hears that she won a total of fifty-nine Grand Slam titles across these three forms of the game, the question could be asked with greater volume.
It has been suggested that Navratilova played tennis like a man – a bizarre criticism for a player who was shorter during her playing career than virtually any professional men’s player of the time, and who had a game that varied enough to be successful in all forms of the game. This criticism surely comes at least in part from the fact that Navratilova is open about her sexuality – she is a lesbian and was open about the fact even when it was considered to be a big deal.
It is unfortunate that even in this article there should be a reference made to that fact, but the truth of the matter is that it is made necessary by the lack of enthusiasm with which people refer to her as one of the greats. However, Navratilova should not be the source of any lack of enthusiasm – the truth of the matter is that within the field in which she played, Navratilova was the greatest tennis player the world has ever seen – and won a US Open mixed doubles title just a month short of her fiftieth birthday.