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CrossCourt~Rally
May 9th, 2006, 10:15 PM
PRAGUE, Czech Republic (May 9) - Martina Navratilova is considering applying for citizenship in her former Czech homeland after being overwhelmed by the country's changes and public's embrace of her.

"I can breathe here much better now," she said in Tuesday's edition of the daily Lidove Noviny.

Navratilova, who turns 50 in October, added she may even settle in the Czech Republic.

On Tuesday she ended a 20-year wait between tennis matches in the former communist state, when she and local Barbora Strycova won their first-round doubles in the Prague Open.

As the top seeds, they beat the Czech-American pairing of Olga Blahotova and Ahsha Rolle 6-2, 6-3.

Navratilova's appearance drew an unusually high 4,000 spectators for the evening match, and she received a standing ovation before and afterward at Stvanice stadium.

"The return means a lot to me," Navratilova said.

When the crowd applauded when she arrived on court, she said, "I had to do something ... at least look for my glasses, to keep myself from crying.

"But there must not be too much nostalgia, or we would lose quickly."

Navratilova defected from the former Czechoslovakia in 1975 and became a U.S. citizen in 1981.

She previously played in Prague in 1986, when she helped the United States win the Fed Cup.

Shooter
May 9th, 2006, 10:40 PM
Good post. Thanks.

MLF
May 9th, 2006, 10:45 PM
Nice article, I know it gets very emotional for Martina whenever she returns to Prague. Plus she's still got drawing power - who else would pull in 4000 spectators for a Tuesday evening doubles match of a lower tier event.

Hopefully she can also help Strycova get back on track, I know Kuznetsova & Groenefeld are very appreciative of the help she gave them.

CrossCourt~Rally
May 9th, 2006, 10:52 PM
Your both welcome :D :bounce: