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Old Aug 20th, 2012, 01:09 PM   #844
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Here's a nice piece by Lance Tingay, featured in the "Players of the Year" section of the "World of Tennis" annual covering the year 1978:

"The BP Cup matches on the Palace Courts at Torquay at the end of January and the beginning of February 1973 still hold vivid memories for those who were there. The Czech women's team had a left-hander who played like a fireball. She was 16 years old and a volleyer – an absurdly imprudent volleyer. It is on record that in the round robin part of the tournament Glynis Coles beat her 7-6, 1-6, 6-2. However, it is also on record that when Great Britain and Czechoslovakia met in the final, Miss Navratilova beat Veronica Burton 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 and then Miss Coles 6-3, 6-2, and that Czechoslovakia won 3-2 against Britain and took the trophy. It was obvious that either Miss Navratilova, then at a joyous age when all in the west was new and bright and wonderful, would burn herself out or become a force in the game.

"The last of Miss Navratilova in her capacity as promoter of Czech national fervour was in the spring of 1975 in Aix-en-Provence. She was not, of course, the whole of the Czech side but she was its guiding strength. Even on the slow, clay court her aggression was dynamic, irresistible. She won, personally invincible, and the Federation Cup was won by Czechoslovakia. Later that year at Forest Hills she proclaimed herself a refugee from her native land. She was still short of her 19th birthday.

"No one could dispute her prosperity as an American resident or fail to acknowledge her vital force as a player. It was not until 1978 that the prestige of her accomplishment matched the richness of her rewards. At last she won the big ones instead of losing them, winning for herself what she had hitherto won only for her former country.

"Her personal triumphs began on the 1978 Virginia Slims circuit. Tournament after tournament she dominated, and between Houston and Kansas City she took six competitions in succession. It was almost a relief of tensions when in Dallas she allowed herself to be beaten in the quarter-final by Tracy Austin and the next week by Evonne Cawley. But when it came to the final play-off series, she avenged herself on Mrs Cawley very adequately. Yet even winning the Virginia Slims circuit so forthrightly - and taking $214,350 in prize money – would not necessarily in itself commend Miss Navratilova to the headlines of the history book.

"The Wimbledon Championships brought that about. Miss Navratilova's game was made for the quick ripostes of fast turf and in 1978 the conquest of her own nerves enabled her to bring it to fruition. In the course of winning Wimbledon she made Miss Austin pay for her temerity early in the season; Mrs Cawley, as delightful in defeat as in victory, fell to her again; and in the last match Chris Evert succumbed to the cuts and thrusts of the sharp Czech steel whose potential had first been revealed at Torquay five years before..."
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Last edited by newmark401 : Aug 21st, 2012 at 02:16 PM.
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