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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 06:47 PM   #946
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Such Sweet Sorrow Garden to raise banner for Martina at last hurrah
By Laura Price, STAFF WRITER
Newsday
November 13, 1994

A decidedly melancholy atmosphere envelops the Virginia Slims Championships this year. Martina Navratilova has chosen Madison Square Garden, her adopted tennis home, to say goodbye.

The drama begins Tuesday night, when the Garden will raise a banner in Navratilova's honor after her first-round match against Gabriela Sabatini. From now on, every tennis ball struck under the Garden roof will be hit underneath the name of Martina Navratilova, the greatest woman to play the game.

"I just hope she doesn't get all tied up," said her longtime doubles partner, Pam Shriver. "It could go either way." Shriver and Navratilova paired for nine Slims doubles championships in 11 appearances at the Garden from 1982-1992. In singles, Navratilova rules at 33rd Street. She has seven titles, including a record five straight, in 16 appearances here and made the finals five other times.

"In the end she had a great rapport with the crowd," said Shriver, who is playing doubles here with Liz Smylie and will catch all of the Navratilova matches she can. "In one of our last matches together, when we won our last championship {1991}, we won, 6-4, in the third over {Jana} Novotna and Gigi Fernandez. It was an amazing match . . . Anytime she's taken the court, I've never felt such an electricity in the crowd."

The draw did not favor the fans or the Garden by matching the sixth-seeded Navratilova against the unseeded Sabatini, another New York favorite, who won here in 1988.

Sabatini said New York's infatuation with her is reciprocated. "I feel extra motivated there, always," Sabatini said. "I love the atmosphere. The crowd is great with me."

But she, like other players on the tour, know their sport will not be the same once Navratilova puts away her last volley.

"We're going to miss her a lot. She meant everything for tennis," Sabatini said. "I look at her and the style she had, she could do anything. She has great character on the court. It's going to be special."

Longtime Slims promoter Ella Musolino-Alber, and her partner from Sports Etcetera, Bill Goldstein, sat down with Madison Square Garden organizers this summer and came up with the banner idea to honor Navratilova.

Former Garden president Bob Gutkowski approved of the plan but stipulated that Navratilova's banner hang only during tennis events. "I was not comfortable having it up for eternity," Gutkowski said. "We wanted to show respect to Martina but we thought it was a place for the Knicks and Rangers, who are there every night. You have great boxing matches but would not raise boxers' names."

Navratilova, who will beat the Stanley Cup champion Rangers to the rafters because of the hockey lockout, already has a permanent place at the Garden. In August, 1993 she, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King were inducted into the building's Walk of Fame.

Although Navratilova will be stealing the spotlight this week, 15 more of the best women's players will be competing for the $250,000 winner's purse. Play begins today and runs through Sunday.

In the first round, No. 1 seed Steffi Graf will face the rocket serves of Brenda Schultz, who could give the world's top player trouble if Graf's lower back still is giving her problems. Graf pulled out of last week's Virginia Slims of Philadelphia tournament to continue treatment. Second-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, the U.S. Open champion, will play France's Julie Halard. Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez, seeded third, acknowledged after a loss to Nathalie Tauziat in Philadelphia she is in a slump. Natalia Zvereva, the world's top-ranked doubles player, could give Martinez all she can handle.

In other first-round matches, No. 4 Novotna plays Croatian Iva Majoli, No. 5 Mary Pierce takes on diminutive South African Amanda Coetzer, seventh seed Lindsay Davenport meets Anke Huber and eighth seed Kimiko Date plays the youngest of the many Maleevas, Magdalena.

These days, the victories don't come easy for Navratilova at 37, but she continues to challenge the top-ranked players. She made a run at her 10th Wimbledon this year before losing to Martinez, who is 15 years her junior, in the final. Two weeks ago at the Bank of the West Classic in Oakland, Navratilova fought her way through three consecutive three-set matches, finally losing to top seed Sanchez Vicario, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3), in the final.

"I think people admire if you can hang in there," Shriver said. "Not only did she hang in there but she has maintained such a high level, even 'til the end."
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 06:55 PM   #947
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Some of the head-to-heads are probably incorrect.

GRAND FINALE TENNIS: Navratilova says goodbye to the game.
JANIS CARR
The Orange County Register.
November 13, 1994

She taught us how to win. With no apologies.

She showed us there is nothing embarrassing in being different, as long as you're honest.

She showed us it was OK to be emotional. Big girls can - and do - cry in public when your adopted country finally adopts you.

She told us how to be outspoken, yet true to your word.

She showed us women can sweat, be athletic and still dance gracefully at Wimbledon's champions ball.

More importantly, Martina Navratilova taught everyone - not just tennis fans - how to be the best despite a stormy temperment, growing up in a Communist country, a gay lifestyle, aging knees, a love-hate friendship with America's sweetheart, Chris Evert, and a host of personal controversies.

Now, Navratilova, 38, is teaching us how to say goodbye. The nine-time Wimbledon champion is retiring from singles play after the Virginia Slims Championships that begin Monday in New York, where tournament organizers will honor her by hoisting her name to the Madison Square Garden rafters alongside the numbers of other former New York athletes.

And when that happens, Navratilova will wave farewell to a sport she has dominated thoroughly for nearly 19 years without any regrets or what-ifs.

"My heart says this is enough," Navratilova said a week ago in Oakland. "Now I'm looking forward to the rest of my life, when I don't have to worry about working out tomorrow or whether or not I can have a sip of wine. I won't have to worry about being first. My life will be first ... and what a change, what a concept."

Yet for seven-plus years, Navratilova was first in the Women's Tennis Association rankings and foremost in the minds of her opponents for an even longer period.

In her 19 years, Navratilova has won nine Wimbledon titles, four U.S. Open championships, two French Open trophies and three Australian Open titles.

She owns a record 167 titles, appeared in 239 finals, including this month's Bank of the West Classic in Oakland, and owns the longest winning streak in the modern era.

In 1983, Navratilova won 54 consecutive matches, which included eight tournament titles. Hana Mandlikova stopped her run in Oakland on Jan. 15, 1984, but it didn't seem to faze Navratilova.

She picked herself back up and strung together 74 consecutive victories, which still stand as a record.

But those days are gone. In her final year, Navratilova has struggled to win even the easy matches. She lost to Bettina Fulco-Villella in the second round at Houston, to Miriam Oremans in the first round at the French Open, to Meredith McGrath in the quarterfinals at Eastbourne, to Ann Grossman in the third round at Los Angeles, and to Anke Huber in the quarterfinals at Filderstadt.

"(Sometimes) I do think I'm playing one year too many," Navratilova said, "but (if I did) then I wouldn't have had Wimbledon and I wouldn't be here (Oakland)."

The sometimes sunny, mostly rainy days at Wimbledon will be the ones Navratilova misses most. She has ruled the grass courts better than any queen, winning nine singles, five doubles and two mixed doubles titles.

This year, Navratilova reached the Wimbledon championship match but fell to Spaniard Conchita Martinez in three sets. After the trophy ceremony, the farewell wave and official curtsy, Navratilova bent down and plucked a few blades of grass from the famed Centre Court and stuck them in her pocket.

"I have been on that court so many times," she said, "I just wanted a part of it."

Since Wimbledon, though, all but one of Navratilova's matches have gone to three sets, a sign perhaps age was gaining an edge. In Oakland, she was pushed by Marketa Kochta, Amy Frazier and Debbie Graham before pulling out three-set victories.

"I will miss winning easily," Navratilova said. "It's been a long time since I won an easy match. All of them are three sets these days."

Barring a victory at the Championships, she could end the year with only one title - the Paris Indoors - something that hasn't happened since her first year on the tour in 1974.

"It drives me crazy," she said after losing the Oakland final. "Getting old stinks. I certainly won't miss that frustration of knowing that I used to make some of the shots I missed tonight. I used to make them without trying, like 9 of 10 of them. Now, I make maybe 2 of 5 shots."

But, oh, those days when she used to make 90 percent of her shots, 90 percent of them coming at the net. For two decades, Navratilova has been the standard-bearer of the women's serve-and-volley game, a rare breed on the circuit these days among baseline bashers.

But Navratilova didn't know any other way to play, even when she was a shy, plump teen-ager inhaling fast food and ice cream. She attacked the net with a vengeance, picking up titles as easy as french fries.

But in 1983, Navratilova revolutionized tennis with her definition of athleticism. Instead of simply hitting tennis balls, Navratilova hit the weight room, where she not only changed the shape of her muscles, but altered the way women would train.

Even her chief rival, Evert, included hefty weights in her training sessions. Evert, who suddenly had lost her edge over Navratilova, knew she had to do something to even the score.

"(Martina) brought athleticism to a whole new level with her training techniques," Evert told Women Sports and Fitness magazine. "She had everything down to a science, including her diet, and that was an inspiration to me. I really think she helped me to be a better athlete."

Evert and Navratilova will be forever linked because of their sometimes-heated, often-times friendly rival that spanned 17 years and 80 matches. When Evert retired after the 1989 year, Navratilova held a 43-37 edge in their meetings, including 13 consecutive victories.

Evert said no one could intimidate her mentally as much as Navratilova. Evert said she would walk onto the court "knowing I was going to lose" before the match began. Despite their differences on the court, the two remain loyal friends today.

Navratilova, though, had to be mentally tough to face the challenges she set in front of herself, starting with her defection from Czechoslovakia in 1975 to her revelation she was gay, to criticizing Magic Johnson's promiscuous lifestyle to calling President Clinton a "wuss" over his noncommittal decision to allow gays in the military.

Unhappy with the Czech Tennis Federation's travel limitations and her increasing appetite for the American way of life, Navratilova defied her country's orders to return home and stayed in New York following the '75 U.S. Open.

Six years later, Navratilova was sworn in as a U.S. citizen on a sunny July day in Los Angeles. Two months later, after losing to Tracy Austin in the U.S. Open final, the American public would recognize this Czech-born, Dallas Cowboys-loving tennis player as one of its own.

"I had never felt anything like it in my life: acceptance, respect, maybe even love," Navratilova wrote in her autobiography.

That's the same feeling Navratilova is apt to find in New York this week when she says so long to the Madison Square Garden crowd and the world around her. And it will be without sorrow.

"I've had my share, actually more than my fill," Navratilova said. "Let someone else have that feeling."

Navratilova isn't concerned what her legacy will be after she walks away. That, she said, is for others to determine.

"I don't care," she said. "I know I always played the game with a passion and would like to transcend that to people. You only have one go around in this life that we know about, so you should make the best of it."

And that she has.

PROFILE: MARTINA NAVRATILOVA

Occupation: Tennis player

Ht.: 5-8; Wt.: 145

Born: Oct. 18, 1956, in Prague, Czech Republic

Home: Aspen, Colo.

Career highlights: Has an .873 winning percentage ... Holds record for most matches won (1,443), most tournament singles titles (167), most Grand Slam singles titles (18) and most overall Grand Slam titles (55) ... $20,006,227 in total earnings heading into this year.

CHRONOLOGY: NAVRATILOVA THROUGH THE YEARS

February 1973: Plays first match on American soil, losing to Linda Tuero, 6-3, 7-6, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

March 1973: Plays Chris Evert for the first time in Akron, Ohio. Evert won, 7-6, 6-3, but the two would play another 79 times in the sport's greatest rivalry.

September 1974: Wins her first tournament title in Orlando, Fla., beating Julie Heldman, 7-6, 6-4.

June 1975: Navratilova reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open, losing to Chris Evert, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.

October 1975: Navratilova defects in New York, defying orders from the Czechoslovakian tennis federation to return after her visa expired.

July 1978: Navratilova wins the first of her nine Wimbledon titles, beating Chris Evert, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. It would be her first of 18 Grand Slam titles.

July 1978: Moves into the No. 1 ranking for the first time, supplanting Chris Evert. Would hold that spot for 332 weeks in her career.

October 1980: Teams with Pam Shriver to form what would become the most formidable women's doubles teams in history, winning 79 titles.

July 1981: Becomes a U.S. citizen.

June 1984: Completes a sweep of six Grand Slam titles over a two-year period with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Evert at the French Open.

Jan.-Dec. 1984: Wins 74 consecutive matches, breaking Chris Evert's record of 55 victories in a row. Navratilova's streak is stopped by Helena Sukova, 1-6, 6-3, 7-5, in the semifinals of the Australian Open.

1986: Returns to Czechoslovakia for the first time since defecting to play the Federation Cup.

September 1987: Captures a rare triple crown at the U.S. Open, winning the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles.

August 1989: Shriver and Navratilova spilt up. They would play together once more at the Virginia Slims Championships in 1992.

July 1990: Beats Zina Garrison Jackson, 6-4, 6-1, to win her ninth and final Wimbledon title, breaking Helen Wills Moody's record.

August 1992: Is ousted from the U.S. Open in the second round, her earliest Grand Slam loss since 1976.

August 1993: Surpasses $19 million in career prize money.

February 1994: Beats Julie Halard, 7-5, 6-3, to win her 167th and final tournament title at the Paris Indoors.

July 1994: Surprises the tennis world with her march to the Wimbledon final, where she loses to Conchita Martinez, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

November 1994: Says farewell to tennis, ending her 20-year career at the Virginia Slims Championships.

WORTHY OPPONENTS

Navratilova's record against some notable opponents

Player Record
Tracy Austin 23-12
Chris Evert 43-37
Zina Garrison 33-1
Evonne Goolagong 14-13
Steffi Graf 9-9
Billie Jean King 9-5
Barbara Potter 18-0
Renee Richards 3-0
Pam Shriver 41-3
Gabriela Sabatini 15-5

THE PROBLEMS

Players whom Navratilova has a losing record

Player Record
Elly Appel-Vessies 0-1
Patti Hogan 0-1
Conchita Martinez 1-4
Monica Seles 7-10

YEAR-BY-YEAR

Through today

Year W L Pct
1973 17 15.531
1974 32 18.640
1975 |88 20.815
1976 |41 15.732
1977 |67 14.827
1978 |80 9.899
1979 |90 12.882
1980 |90 12.882
1981 |89 14.864
1982 |90 3.968
1983 |86 1.989
1984 |78 2.975
1985 |84 5.944
1986 |90 3.968
1987 |56 8.875
1988 |70 7.909
1989 |73 7.913
1990 |52 7.881
1991 |53 9.855
1992 |38 8.826
1993 |46 8.852
1994 |33 13.717
Total 1,443 210 .873
HOLDING ON TO NO.1

Martina Navratilova was ranked the top women's player in the world for 381 weeks or 7 years, 17 weeks.

Dates Wks.
July 10, 1978-Jan. 13, 1979 27
Jan. 28-Feb. 24, 1979 |4
April 16-June 24, 1979 |10
Sept. 10, 1979-April 6, 1980 |30
April 21-June 30, 1980 |10
May 3-16, 1982 |2
June 14, 1982-June 9, 1985 |156
Oct. 14-27, 1985 |2
Nov. 25, 1985-Aug. 16, 1987 |140
CHART: GRAND SLAM MASTER

SINGLES (18 titles)

AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Champion: 1981, 1983, 1985

Runner-up: 1975, 1982, 1987

Semifinalist: 1980, 1984, 1988

Quarterfinalist: 1989

FRENCH OPEN

Champion: 1982, 1984

Runner-up: 1975, 1985-87

Quarterfinalist: 1973-74, 1981

Fourth Round: 1983, 1988

First round: 1994

WIMBLEDON

Champion: 1978-79, 1982-87, 1990

Runner-up: 1988-89, 1994

Semifinalist: 1976, 1980-81, 1992-93

Quarterfinalist: 1975, 1977, 1991

Third Round: 1973

First Round: 1974

U.S. OPEN

Champion: 1983-84, 1986-87

Runner-up: 1981, 1985, 1989, 1991

Semifinalist: 1975, 1977-79

Quarterfinalist: 1982, 1988

Fourth Round: 1980, 1990, 1993

Third Round: 1974

Second Round: 1992

First Round: 1973, 1976

DOUBLES (37 titles)

WOMEN (31)

Australian: 1980 (with Betsy Nagelsen); 1982-85, 1987-89 (with Pam Shriver)

French Open: 1975 (with Chris Evert); 1982 (with Anne Smith); 1984-85, 1987-88 (with Shriver); 1986 (with Andrea Temesvari)

Wimbledon: 1976 (with Evert); 1979 (with Billie Jean King); 1981-84, 1986 (with Shriver)

U.S. Open: 1976-77 (with Betty Stove); 1978, 1980 (with King); 1983-1984, 1986-87 (with Shriver); 1989 (with Hana Mandlikova)

MIXED (6)

French Open: 1974 (with Ivan Molina); 1985 (with Heinz Gunthardt)

Wimbledon: 1985 (with Paul McNamee); 1993 (with Mark Woodforde)

U.S. Open: 1985 (with Heinz Gunthardt); 1987 (with Emilio Sanchez); 1990 (with Gigi Fernandez)
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 06:58 PM   #948
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

MARTINA: YOU'VE REALLY COME A LONG WAY, BABY
Daily News of Los Angeles
Monday, November 14, 1994
JOE JARES

"The Czech girl is an interesting combination of cockiness, surliness and good cheer, which is understandable in an East European teen-ager who has to undergo at least one interview a day. She is built along the lines of a Pilsener keg and constantly has to watch her diet. At least one of the outfits she wore last week appeared to be two sizes too small."

Sports Illustrated, April 14, 1975

As far as I can tell from my files of frayed and yellow clips, those unflattering words appeared in the first article I ever wrote about Martina Navratilova. She was only 18, she was in her third year on the pro circuit and she had not yet defected from Czechoslovakia to the United States.

The occasion was the Virginia Slims Championships at the Sports Arena. We reporters were interested in her because she obviously had talent. Already, as I wrote, she was "probably the strongest woman in tennis, stronger even than (Margaret) Court, and she moves deftly, always following her left-handed serves and ground strokes to the net and looking to sock away volleys."

This week, almost 20 years later, Navratilova plays in her last professional tournament, the Virginia Slims Championships, now held in New York City rather than L.A.

Many people believe she is the greatest woman player of all time, based on her nine Wimbledon singles championships, four U.S. Open titles, etc. I don't know if she is or not, but she certainly ranks up there with Suzanne Lenglen, Helen Wills Moody, Maureen Connolly, Althea Gibson, Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and a few others.

". . . Czech defector Martina Navratilova, 20, the head of a corporation that uses her tour nickname: Brat, Inc. Navratilova used to be shaped like a Pilsener keg from her homeland, but she has shed 20 to 25 pounds (down to 145) and now has a discernible waist and evident additional quickness."

Sports Illustrated, April 4, 1977

That's one of the things I'll never forget about her. She had the will to diet and train. She had the native talent and was willing to give up whatever she had to give up, do whatever she had to do, to become a champion.

I'll also remember her as resolutely American, even before she became an American. She thirsted for freedom and left her country and family to find it; my paternal ancestors left Czechoslovakia for the same reason, I imagine, so I felt extra empathy.

She was also so American in her outspoken comments about anything and everything - the state of women's tennis, dogs, Planned Parenthood, rock and roll, her sexual preference for women ("Are you still the alternative?" she retorted to a nosy male reporter). I think only King had more to say about world affairs, tennis affairs and almost any other kind of affairs.

"For years a weakness of women's tennis was the top-heaviness - say, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova seldom losing to anybody but each other for eight years, 1978 through 1986. The Evert-Navratilova Show was a long- running act and kept most of the other females in the wings."

Daily News, Aug. 16, 1990

Yes, Navratilova vs. Evert was one of the fine rivalries in sports. Evert dominated at first, but Navratilova eventually caught up and passed the poised favorite from Florida. I was fortunate to be at Wimbledon in 1985 to see Navratilova beat Evert in the singles final for the fifth time in five tries.

Then the next year it was Hana Mandlikova falling to the master in straight sets, and my files show me that I wrote:

"With violinist Isaac Stern enjoying the show as a guest in the Royal Box, another artist with a stringed instrument put on a virtuoso performance Saturday on Centre Court."

Martina Navratilova was a virtuoso all right. Let us hope that she will be equally effective as the president of the WTA Tour.

And that she will be happy living out her years in the country that she has adopted and that has adopted her.

Coming events: "The best intercollegiate tennis other than the NCAAs," said Ed Atkinson about the event he's running this week at the L.A. Tennis Club near Melrose Avenue and Vine Street. And admission is free.

It's the 38th annual Southern California Intercollegiates, featuring top players from UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, Arizona, UC Santa Barbara and other schools in the area. The tournament used to be a fixture at the Valley Hunt Club in Pasadena and used to be in March. This date, if not this site, is much better for attracting the best athletes, Atkinson says.

Matches will be played every afternoon, Tuesday through Sunday. For information, call (213) 464-3195. . . .

Parents, players and coaches interested in details on college scholarships should attend a USTA-sponsored meeting at the L.A. Tennis Center on Dec. 4. The meeting is free. A booklet and a set of information sheets about scholarships will be available for $6.50. For information, call Mark Winters at (310) 208-3838.

Rivalry of the late '90s? "He is going to be tough to beat tomorrow, and tough to beat for the next 10 years. I think it is a rivalry that I hope turns into something special, because I think we kind of bring out the best in each other." - Pete Sampras, after his loss to Andre Agassi in Paris.

Be a ball kid: Southern California students 10 and older are invited to try out to be ball boys or ball girls at the Evert Cup and Newsweek Champions Cup tournaments (Feb. 27-March 13 at Indian Wells).

Tryouts will be held Nov. 17, Dec. 15 and Jan. 19 at 3:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort in that city near Palm Springs. For information, call (619) 340-3166.

SOME MARTINA MILESTONES

1978: Finishes year ranked No. 1 in the world, an honor she will earn six more times. . . . Wins her first Wimbledon singles title.

1981: Becomes U.S. citizen.

1984: Wins U.S. Open, her sixth-straight Grand Slam-tournament victory.

1985: With Pam Shriver, her string of doubles victories is snipped at 109. . . . Releases autobiography, "Martina."

1987: Gets rare triple at U.S. Open - singles, doubles with Pam Shriver and mixed doubles with Emilio Sanchez.

1990: Wins ninth and final Wimbledon singles.

1991: Becomes oldest female finalist in U.S. Open history.

1993: Beats Gabriela Sabatini and Aranxta Sanchez Vicario back to back to win L.A. tournament and surpass $19 million in career earnings.

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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 09:24 PM   #949
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Thanks for posting Mrs A (Hope you don't mind your nickname BTW)

Martina would still be my all time pick on an indoor court, so it is fitting she retired from singles (more or less) at the Garden in 1994.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2014, 02:06 AM   #950
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Thanks for posting Mrs A (Hope you don't mind your nickname BTW)

Martina would still be my all time pick on an indoor court, so it is fitting she retired from singles (more or less) at the Garden in 1994.
And she was a WTA "career officer," so it was fitting she went out (with some foreshadowing of a return; see below) at the WTA's flagship tournament and not an ITF/national federation event.

NAVRATILOVA LOOKING FORWARD TO RETIREMENT
The Deseret News
Friday, November 4, 1994
Rob Gloster, Associated Press sports writer

Martina Navratilova looks forward to sampling wines, riding her horses and doing all the fun things she has put aside during two marvelous decades in tennis.

Everywhere she goes these days, she receives gifts designed for her post-tennis life - a mountain bike, a snowboard, a windsurfing board.

Even though she steadfastly maintains this is her last year, and says she is comfortable with her decision to retire, it still is difficult to completely walk away from a sport she once dominated.

During a post-match ceremony Thursday night after her defeat of Amy Frazier in the Bank of the West Classic, fans paid tribute to Navratilova. Mostly, they pleaded with her not to retire.

"The hardest thing is saying no to everybody,'' she told the fans, then gave them a glimmer of hope by hinting she might return to Oakland some day to play doubles.

Actually, Navratilova has her own dream.

"Ideally, I would like to take a couple of years off and come back,'' she said later at a news conference. "But I think it's a little too late for that.''


Navratilova said she's in good-enough physical shape to continue playing on the pro tour for two more years. But she said she no longer can focus all her energy on tennis, and the hours of practice and travel it demands.

There are times when Navratilova wonders why she didn't retire a year ago.

"(Sometimes) I do think I'm playing one year too many,'' she said, "but then I wouldn't have had Wimbledon and I wouldn't be here.''

Navratilova, 38, is playing in her next-to-last tournament. She plans to retire after the Virginia Slims Championships that begin Nov. 14 in New York.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2014, 02:09 AM   #951
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Martina goes out in style - Slims loss ends singles career
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Wednesday, November 16, 1994
STEVE WILSTEIN, Associated Press

NEW YORK - All the flashes of brilliance that stamped Martina Navratilova's career for more than two decades - the darting volleys, the leaping overheads, the chip-and-charge backhands - were on display one last time.

And in the end they weren't nearly enough.

Navratilova's storied singles career, 22 years marked by a record 167 titles, came to a close with a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Gabriela Sabatini last night in the first round of the Virginia Slims Championships. Navratilova is entered in the Slims doubles competition later this week.

Neither the gift of eight double-faults by Sabatini, nor the nonstop cheers of Navratilova's fans at Madison Square Garden affected the outcome last night. Navratilova could muster only moments that recalled her greatness, and too often she couldn't reach the perfect lobs and sizzling passes of Sabatini.

For the history books, Navratilova's last shot came at 9:24 p.m. EST, a backhand that drifted wide crosscourt.

"I got blown off the court tonight by someone who was playing in another zone," Navratilova said. "If I have to lose my last match to anyone, I'd want to lose it to Gabriela Sabatini because she's a very, very nice human being besides being a hell of a tennis player."

Navratilova began this most emotional night all smiles and ended it, predictably, in tears, flowers in one hand, tissues in the other during the postmatch ceremony.

"This is a schizophrenic moment," Navratilova said. "I don't know whether to cry or laugh. . . . I'm ready for my new life."

Navratilova hugged Sabatini at the net when the match ended and was overwhelmed by a ceremony that included a red banner with a yellow tennis ball raised in her honor - the first such tribute at the Garden for any woman and appropriate for the most successful tennis player, man or woman, in history.

A videotape of Navratilova's reminded fans that her career was more than merely victories on court. It was a journey from communism in Czechoslovakia to freedom in the United States, perhaps her proudest moment when she gained American citizenship. Her legacy is not only nine Wimbledon championships, but years of honesty regarding her politics and lesbian lifestyle that won her worldwide respect.

Typically, in her last match, she wore a patch with a red ribbon on her blouse in support of the fight against AIDS.

"Most athletes don't get controversial because you don't get endorsements," she said. "It's like taking a cut in pay by being honest."

She defined her own idea of her legacy to sport as "being a consummate professional, giving it everything I had on court and off court and striving for excellence."

It wasn't all sadness for Navratilova, though. She jumped up and down like a kid when she was given a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as a going-away gift, the song "Born To Be Wild" blaring as it was rolled out. Navratilova quickly hopped aboard, as if ready to ride off into the sunset.

She thanked her coach, Craig Kardon, whom she called her best friend, and Billie Jean King, "without whom none of us would be here," and she brought her parents, Jana and Mirek, onto the court to introduce them to her "friends" at the Garden.

"It's too early to be relieved," Navratilova said moments later at a news conference. "I'm too ticked off about losing. I wanted this week to last. I'm playing good tennis. I could have played some more, but this is the right time for me. I'm glad to go out on my own terms. I'm glad my body didn't give out on me. There were a lot of emotions going on in my head and my heart."

All those emotions, though, didn't really cost her the match. Rather, it was Sabatini's lobs and passes.

"I was too busy backpedaling to get emotional until it was match point," Navratilova said. "Then I said, `OK, this is the last point I'll ever play.' "

Asked what she'll miss most, Navratilova said, "playing against the best, playing against champions, that's the treat."

Sabatini was one of those champions and she had mixed emotions about being the player to send Navratilova into retirement.

"On one side I didn't want to be the one to beat her," Sabatini said. "On the other side, I was thinking, well, this is a great honor for me to play Martina in her last tournament."

When they hugged at the end, Sabatini said, "I'm sorry I won."

"I thought about it a lot," Sabatini said. "Even if I lose the match, it would have been, "OK, I lost to Martina, the greatest player of all."'

It was a night that belonged to Navratilova, and no one else seemed to matter to the crowd. Not No. 1 Steffi Graf, who finished the evening with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Brenda Schultz, nor No. 4 Jana Novotna, who opened the show with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory over 17-year-old Iva Majoli.

Novotna's match served as a prelude to the pulsating, standing ovation that greeted Navratilova when she stepped onto the blue carpeted court to play Sabatini after the singing of the national anthem by Navratilova's friend, Grammy Award winner Melissa Etheridge.

Navratilova, wearing Wimbledon white, tried to peek at Etheridge from behind a phalanx of security guards. Then when she strode to midcourt with a smile and a wave to the crowd of 17,131, more than two dozen photographers leaned over the net to get a shot of Navratilova as she began pursuit of one more singles crown.

Navratilova responded to the ovation by patting her heart with hand and looking up at her family and friends in the stands.

"For two hours people were coming in but never settling in," Novotna said. "We warmed up the court for Martina. This is Martina's tournament. Why not? She deserves it. She was the greatest."

Navratilova came out briefly in a green sweater and sweatpants early in the second set and again in the third set of the Novotna-Majoli match, as if she couldn't wait to get on the court. She looked relaxed, though, standing almost unnoticed at the court entrance, watching the players, taking in the atmosphere and smiling at her mother, Jana, and stepfather, Mirek Navratil, in the seats beside her.

"It was a pretty special moment," Navratilova said of the appearance by her parents, who saw her play at the Garden for the first time. "They probably always think it's like that."

Navratilova year-by-year

Year W L Pct. x-Money

1973 17 15 .531 $6,100

1974 32 18 .640 $35,480

1975 88 20 .815 $179,243

1976 41 15 .732 $131,635

1977 67 14 .827 $300,317

1978 80 9 .899 $450,757

1979 90 12 .882 $747,548

1980 90 12 .882 $749,250

1981 89 14 .864 $865,437

1982 90 3 .968 $1,475,355

1983 86 1 .989 $1,456,030

1984 78 2 .975 $2,173,556

1985 84 5 .944 $1,328,829

1986 90 3 .968 $1,905,841

1987 56 8 .875 $932,102

1988 70 7 .909 $1,333,782

1989 73 7 .913 $1,285,614

1990 52 7 .881 $1,330,794

1991 53 9 .855 $989,986

1992 38 8 .826 $731,933

1993 46 8 .852 $1,036,119

1994 33 13 .717 $619,582

Total 1,443 210 .873 $20,065,290

x-including doubles

Martina Navratilova has held the No. 1 ranking 332 weeks, or 6 years, 20 weeks. How it breaks down:

When No. 1 Weeks

July 10, 1978-Jan. 13, 1979 27

Jan. 28-Feb. 24, 1979 4

April 16-June 24, 1979 10

Sept. 10, 1979-April 6, 1980 30

April 21-June 30, 1980 10

May 3-16, 1982 2

June 14, 1982-June 9, 1985 156

Oct. 14-27, 1985 2

Nov. 25, 1985-Aug. 16, 1987 91
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Old Nov 22nd, 2014, 02:11 AM   #952
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Navratilova Loses, Leaves Tennis Behind : Retirement: Defeat to Sabatini at Virginia Slims Championship and closing ceremony bring end to spectacular singles career.
November 16, 1994
JULIE CART
LOS ANGELES TIMES

NEW YORK — The spotlight is turned off but the light doesn't dim. That's the way some champions leave. There are other ways. Some limp off, some are led away in handcuffs. Some are taken away on gurneys and leave their careers in an operating room.

A few, very few, leave when their careers are at their apogee. The great athletes anticipate the downward arc, hate the idea of it and leave rather than face it.

Martina Navratilova, 38, left singles competition Tuesday night in the same way she had joined it: fighting, snarling, conjuring just how she might win this point and then the next. Tennis lost its winningest player ever, when Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina rose to her opponent's level and eliminated Navratilova, 6-4, 6-2, from the Virginia Slims Championships.

After completing play in the doubles competition, she will go into happy retirement after 22 years.

The much-anticipated match was often interrupted by spontaneous cheerleading from the crowd of 17,131 in Madison Square Garden. From them she gained approval and sustenance. The crowd did not chastise Sabatini, but was indifferent to her. Sabatini hardly noticed, such was her focus. Afterward, she was a gracious and conflicted winner.

"On the one side, I didn't want to be the one to beat her, on the other side it was a great honor to beat her," she said. "I got to know Martina off the court. I have to say that she is a great person."

The match was spectacular. Each point was fraught with import. Navratilova doggedly returned to the net even as Sabatini slid passing shots to every corner. Navratilova at the net is the purest expression of her defiance: Here, I will win.

"I got blown off the court by somebody who was playing in another zone," Navratilova said. "If I had to lose a match, I guess I want to lose to Gabriela Sabatini rather than anyone else. Because she's a good human being."

Sabatini never cracked. She appeared calm in a manner that she has only sporadically shown before. Her game was all pinpoint lobs and sweeping topspin backhands launched from a swing that began somewhere in Buenos Aires. She pleased herself.

"I have played like that in moments in the last few weeks, but I have not been as consistent," Sabatini said.

Steffi Graf defeated Brenda Schultz, 7-5, 6-3, and Jana Novotna defeated Iva Majoi, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, to advance in the $3.5 million season-ending tournament.

After the Sabatini-Navratilova match the crowd clapped rhythmically anticipating Navratilova's retirement ceremony. A rope snaked down from the Garden ceiling, and was attached to a red and yellow banner puddled on the floor. The lights dimmed. Navratilova strode into the spotlight with an armful of flowers and a box of tissues.

As the banner was hoisted it revealed itself--a field of red, within it a yellow tennis ball with the year 1994 on it, and, beneath, "Martina Navratilova" in huge white letters.

Urged on by shouts and cheers, Navratilova's banner was raised to the rafters of Madison Square Garden, placing her among the memories of the Knicks and Rangers. The first woman to be so elevated.

Then came the presents. The women's tour made Navratilova a gift of a pearl white Harley Davidson. When Navratilova caught sight of the low-slung motorcycle being wheeled into the arena, she jumped up and down like a delighted child, jumped astride it and varoom-varoomed and laughed.

Navratilova is said to have inherited her nerves and emotions from her mother, who, during the postgame ceremony, stood on her tiptoes to see over photographers. With one hand she clutched her handbag and with the other she dabbed at tears. Later, Jana Navratilova could be seen hugging any available torso.

Now that Navratilova has left, thoughts turn to what she has left behind. The legacy. She introduced weight training and vein-popping physical play to the women's tour. Her new-found strength drove a reluctant Chris Evert into a gym. For that alone, Navratilova may have contributed to the career longevity of players on the tour.

Her serve-and-volley game introduced the net to ranks of cloned baseliners who before had seen it only as an impediment to a serve. At the net, Navratilova allowed other players to see a potential weapon that offered possibility and dynamism to a game that had grown static and unyielding at the back of the court.

She exposed to the world her intense competitiveness and never apologized, thus allowing a generation of women to fight too.

In today's terms, the length of Navratilova's career is not likely to be duplicated. Few players can expect to last half as long as Navratilova.

Navratilova is excited about starting the second phase of her life even as she has described retirement as "hurtling into a question mark."

She leaves one passion and moves to others, telling the crowd, "So many friends I have here that I only have because of tennis. So I have to thank tennis for my life. Tonight is one night when I have a smile on my face and on my heart. Thank you.

"I will miss this game, but I'm ready for my new life," she said.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2014, 02:13 AM   #953
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

TENNIS; Navratilova Beaten, but She Wins Garden's Heart
Robin Finn
New York Times
November 16, 1994

She wore her heart on her sleeve, and for 22 years she jammed her backhand volley -- one that won't be replicated and was rarely returned -- down the throats of any and all opponents who weren't savvy enough to get out of harm's way.

Last night in the opening round of the Virginia Slims Championships at Madison Square Garden, Martina Navratilova, the tennis dynamo generally regarded as the finest woman athlete to grace her sport, played her last-ever singles match under the same prestigious roof where she'd earned a record 18 titles.

Pitted against one of the strapping young women whose demolition-style ground strokes had lately become the bane of her competitive existence, Navratilova was defeated, 6-4, 6-2, by Gabriela Sabatini. Navratilova, who waved a white towel in appreciation of the standing ovation the crowd of 17,131 gave her as she strolled onto the court, gradually threw in the towel in resignation last night.

Between Sabatini's brassy top-spin forehands, devilish backhand lobs and the searing passing shots she delivered with a rollicking twist of her body, Navratilova could barely get a shot in edgewise.

"I don't know whether I should cry or laugh," said Navratilova, who owned a 15-5 career record against Sabatini before last night, when the Argentine's adrenaline and unretiring demeanor proved superior to her own. "I got blown off the court, but if I had to lose my last match, I'd probably rather lose it to Gabriela Sabatini than anyone else," she said of the gracious victor, who embraced her and apologized to her as they met at the net for the ritual handshake.

"I couldn't wait to finish this match, to have it be over," said Sabatini, who called Navratilova the "best volleyer" ever. "She's so talented, she can do anything, and she's almost 40, and for tennis, that's a lot of years."

After the defeat, Navratilova, whose finest moment this year came at Wimbledon, where she fought her way to the final of the grand slam tournament she'd won a record nine times, was party to another piece of history. A commemorative banner, the first tribute of its kind to any non-Knick or Ranger, was raised to the Garden's rafters, and on a less somber note, she jumped for joy as Virginia Slims, her sport's longtime sponsor, gave her a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Navratilova collected a record 167 titles over a tennis lifetime that spanned, and often transcended, three generations. She accumulated 19 grand slam singles crowns, the first at Wimbledon in 1978 and the last, back on the lawn she most cherished, at Wimbledon in 1990. She held the No. 1 ranking on nine separate occasions, dominated the circuit with her record 74-match unbeaten streak in 1984 and, as accomplished in doubles as she was as a soloist, she and Pam Shriver captured 20 grand slam titles and a record 109 titles over all.

But this year, closing in on her 38th birthday, and tired, despite her tenacious grip on a top 5 ranking, of the emotional and physical strains that inevitably accompany the path of any champion, Navratilova decided to call it quits while the call was still hers to make.

This loss effectively brought closure to an epic career, and it also removed the last and only pure serve-and-volleyer from a game that is, according to Navratilova, in danger of turning generic.

Navratilova, who kept her composure before, during and after this last and long-awaited hurrah, said it was far too early for her to feel relief about finally achieving release from the competitive crucible.

"I wanted this week to last," she said. "I'm upset about the match -- she just ran me over -- and now the career's finished as well. There's a lot of emotion going on in my head and my heart, but during the match I was too busy backpedaling to get emotional about anything else. And then, at match point, I thought, 'O.K., this is the last point I'll ever play.' "

Using lobs and passing shots to prevent Navratilova from establishing herself at the net, Sabatini got the first break of the match in the fifth game and took a 3-2 lead. But with a forehand drive of her own, Navratilova broke right back for 3-3 with a sideline-skimming shot she punctuated with a one-word complement, "Yes!"

Her charge proved short-lived, though, and Sabatini, playing on instincts that defied the tensions inherent in this encounter, broke her again for a 4-3 lead. This time it was a cross-court backhand that passed Navratilova by -- and nearly severed her sneaker tips.

Sabatini kept Navratilova pinned to the baseline and held serve for 5-3, and after Navratilova, amid a stream of self-castigation, held for 5-4, the ninth-ranked Argentine used a service winner to complete a set she'd begun with a pair of double faults.

Navratilova got off to a 2-0 lead in the second set, but Sabatini soon corrected that, and in the fifth game she broke Navratilova a second time and took a 3-2 lead. Navratilova didn't even bother chasing the forehand return that Sabatini used to break for 5-2, and she hit her last-ever singles shot, a backhand that drifted away off the court just ahead of her, at match point.

MATCH POINTS

In last night's opening match, fourth-seeded JANA NOVOTNA recovered from a second-set lapse and asserted herself, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, against 17-year-old IVA MAJOLI of Croatia. It was the first appearance at the championships for the 14th-ranked Majoli, whose game, giggle and double-barreled backhand are reminiscent of a countrywoman who preceded her to prominence, MONICA SELES. . . . In her first match since the United States Open, STEFFI GRAF defied her sore lower back and defeated BRENDA SCHULTZ of the Netherlands, 7-5, 6-3.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2014, 02:17 AM   #954
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Tennis: Martina says last goodbye David Mercer in New York sees brief defeat and extended emotion
David Mercer
The Guardian
Manchester, England
November 17, 1994

AN instantly forgettable match but a totally unforgettable occasion ended the singles career of Martina Navratilova. The record books will show she lost 6-4, 6-2 to Gabriela Sabatini in the first round of the Virginia Slims Championships, a final chapter witnessed with affection by a crowd of 17,000 at Madison Square Garden.

The match lasted 81 minutes, the occasion almost three hours. From the moment Navratilova walked on court to a rapturous reception, to the time she was applauded out of her final press conference, emotions ran high.

The atmosphere clearly affected Navratilova. "I was excited once I finally got on to court and then, with the crowd going nuts, I said to the ball girl, 'How am I supposed to play after this?' "

She had to endure an anxious two-hour wait as Jana Novotna beat Iva Majoli 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. An early lead might have settled her nerves and Sabatini seemed determined to help when, in her first service game, the Argentinian started with two double faults. The fact that Navratilova failed to take advantage was indicative of what was to follow.

Throughout the match the 38-year-old was well below her best form. Her tactics were hesitant. She was slow about the court and at times seemed hampered by a thigh injury, although she did not offer any excuses afterwards.

Sabatini, on the other hand, was clearly inspired by the occasion. "When I started to play tennis, I used to look at Martina a lot. I was thinking this is a great honour for me to get to play Martina in her last tournament." A series of backhand passes were reminiscent of those Conchita Martinez had struck in this year's Wimbledon final.

When Navratilova won the opening two games of the second set, hopes of a fight-back were briefly raised. In fact, they were the last games she was to win.

An examination of the match statistics reveals some telling comparisons. Sabatini hit 37 winners to Navratilova's 20. She made 15 unforced errors to her opponent's 21, and won 75 per cent of the points she played at the net, compared with Navratilova's 54 per cent.

After the match there was no time for immediate sorrow, as the tournament organisers launched into a farewell tribute that was a perfect example of American over-statement, with all the hyperbole for once fully justified.

Giant screens projected a video that showed many of Navratilova's greatest triumphs and contained moving messages from Chris Evert, Billie Jean King and others. The subject of their praise leapt up and down like a six-year-old on Christmas morning when presented with a Harley Davidson motorbike. The crowd screamed for her to start it up and booed the New York Fire Department when it was explained that their regulations prevented her from doing so.

Everyone joined in the chorus of Tina Turner's Simply the Best, as Navratilova's commemorative banner was hoisted into the rafters. She said farewell to her fans, managing to keep her composure when many around her, including her mother, were weeping unashamedly.

Only when she finally left the court did the realisation that it was really over sink in. Sabatini was apologetic: "I didn't want to be the one to beat her." And Navratilova reflected everyone's feelings: "I'm sad that it's over so quickly. I was hoping to stay in the tournament a little longer.

"I'm glad that I retired on my own terms, not because the body said no more. There are a lot of emotions going on in my head and my heart, and it will take a while to sort them out."

Asked how she wanted to be remembered, she quickly answered: "I'm still alive." Then she added: "As a consummate professional."

As for the future, she intends to "enjoy myself next year and try to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I'm going to kick back, take some nice vacations and see what tugs at my heart strings." She will, though, be an active president of the Players' Association, and hinted at a possible future role in coaching. "Billie Jean {King} made me promise that if she helped me I had to pass on what she taught me, and she taught me a lot."

While Navratilova was holding court, Steffi Graf returned to competition for the first time in two months to beat Brenda Schultz 7-5, 6-3. Graf, still suffering from "really strong inflammation" in her back, was not upset at being over-shadowed by Navratilova. "Just being here tonight, you could see what she means to tennis, to the spectators, to all the players, and that doesn't happen very often in any sport."
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Old Dec 16th, 2014, 01:20 AM   #955
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Martina Navratilova and Julia Lemigova married in New York Monday 15-12-2014
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Old Dec 16th, 2014, 08:52 AM   #956
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Congratulations to Martina and her lovely new wife Julia This wedding has been a long time coming
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Old Dec 16th, 2014, 11:12 AM   #957
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Very happy for them
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Old Dec 16th, 2014, 12:59 PM   #958
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

May they be very happy. Congratulations Martina!

Are there any pictures?
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Old Dec 16th, 2014, 01:02 PM   #959
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Not their wedding photos-but here they are recently from New York at the US Open.




And Martina's proposal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf1hpqf1CZ0
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Old Dec 16th, 2014, 08:43 PM   #960
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Re: Martina Navratilova Admiration Thread

Forgot to congratulate Martina and Julia yesterday.


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-can...ce=twitterfeed
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