Martina N. playing with Liezel Huber
Good luck to them....
Navratilova joins field
Legend will play doubles in newly adopted hometown
By MIC HUBER
SARASOTA -- Almost 30 years ago a young Martina Navratilova came to Sarasota to play in one of her first professional tournaments. She's back, and this time it apparently is for good.
Navratilova, a tennis legend who continues to break new ground in the game, has verbally committed to play doubles in the Sarasota Clay Court Classic to be held March 31-April 6 at The Meadows Country Club. Adding spice to Navratilova's entry is the fact that she will be playing in her newly adopted hometown.
Navratilova contacted tournament director Lesley Eckert and mentioned that she now lives in Sarasota and was interested in playing doubles with partner Liezel Huber. Eckert, naturally, was eager to give them a wild card into the doubles draw.
"It is great to have a legend of the game to come and participate in the tournament, supporting the event in her new hometown," Eckert said.
Navratilova's lists of accomplishments in the game are nothing short of phenomenal. She has won 167 professional singles titles, more than any man or woman who has played the game. She has won 168 doubles championships. Her 18 Grand Slam singles titles are fourth among all women players.
Among her awards, Navratilova was named Female Athlete of the Decade (1980s) by the National Sports Review, UPI and Associated Press. She was selected as the WTA Player of the Year a record seven times.
She returned to the game in 2000, six years after retiring, adding to her records. Even today, at the age of 46, Navratilova continues to win. She opened this year by winning a pair of doubles titles (Gold Coast and Dubai) with Svetlana Kuznetsova, and she teamed with Leander Pas to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title to become the third woman to win singles, doubles and mixed doubles at all four Grand Slam tournaments. She is now the oldest person (46 years, 3 months) to win a Grand Slam title.
Navratilova originally played in Sarasota in 1973 at the age of 16 at the Sarasota Bath and Racquet Club in the USTA Women's Circuit, a precursor to the Virginia Slims.