Here you go GRene,
David Irvine’s report on the Federation Cup in "World of Tennis 1987" (pp 35-6).
“To some – not least the sponsors, NEC, who had to have their arms twisted – it was a gamble. To others it represented well-merited, even overdue, reward and recognition. And to one player in particular it offered a challenge which, in a way, transcended all others she had faced and conquered in a brilliantly distinguished career. Yet at the end of a remarkable, emotional and unforgettable week in Prague it was evident to all, sceptics included, that the I.T.F.’s decision to invite Czechoslovakia, the holders, to host the 1986 Federation Cup had been a master stroke. As Philippe Chatrier, the president, confirmed, ‘It was easily the most terrific event we have ever had.’
Record crowds, the largest entry ever, unprecedented media attention: everything combined to make the championship an overwhelming success. Even the defeat of their team in the final, a result which ended three years of Czech domination, did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the knowledgeable Prague public. For though the Czechs lost, it was a Prague-born girl – Martina Navratilova – who contributed more than anyone to the United States’ recovery of the trophy.
After her 11-year absence from her native city, the World Champion’s return could easily have brought one of those awkward, even embarrassing, reunions. For it wasn’t as if Navratilova merely left in 1975; she defected. But no prodigal, surely, could have had a warmer reception or been received, in her moment of triumph, with greater rapture and affection. ‘The whole experience’, she said through tears, ‘was beyond my wildest dreams.’
To house the championship, the first major international event of its kind to be stated in Eastern Europe, the Czechs had created the brand new Stvanice Stadium, with a capacity of 7,000, near the city centre. Every day was a sell-out and including the preliminary matches, more than 60,000 attended. Whether it would have been quite the same without Navratilova, whose only previous appearance in the US side was at santa Clara in 1982, must remain a matter of speculation. She was the catalyst. It was her show from first to last. Knowing how nervous she felt at the prospect of returning, her US colleagues rallied round, and no-one could doubt the heart-felt sincerity of Chris Lloyd when she said: ‘We dedicate the Federation Cup to her.’
That Navratilova should return to Prague, of all places, to lead a successful American mission was not without a certain irony. Particularly as it was shortly after having assisted Czechoslovakia to win the cup for the first time at Aix-en-Provence, in 1975, that she made her momentous decision to leave her birthplace and seek political asylum in the United States. Inevitably this background prompted suggestions that, in retaliation, the Czech authorities had not only expunged her name from the record but, by ignoring her recent outstanding achievements, had erased her from the public’s consciousness. Be that as it may, it was plainly evident that the vast majority of Prague’s tennis enthusiasts not only knew of her but could recite her triumphs chapter and verse.
It was that, above all, that made Navratilova so determined to produce her best tennis every time she stepped on court. ‘They may know about me’, she said, ‘but they haven’t actually seen me – not for a very long time, anyway. I want to show them what I can do.’ Nor did she disappoint. She was brilliant, she was spectacular, she was awesome. Moreover, she was happy, and for that the Czechs loved her. By the end of a momentous week, she was able to carry an unblemished record into her eagerly awaited final confrontation with Hana Mandlikova – the match, fittingly, that was to decide the competition – and won it 75 61.”
The report then goes on to discuss Graf’s bizarre broken toe injury as a result of a stand falling on her foot, Cecchini’s surprise defeat of Evert, who was carrying a knee injury, and Mandlikova’s surprise marriage announcement. After giving a six-line summary of a few early results, it ends,
"…but nothing denied the people of Prague the final they had dreamed about. It was a stunning occasion and one that no-one present will readily forget. In the end the result scarcely seemed to matter. Tennis triumphed and Martina Navratilova knew, without a doubt, that Prague was still her home."
Elsewhere in the same publication, Ronald Aitken ends his review of the year with (p13),
"Finally, to the happiest sight of the year: Martina Navratilova going back to her native Prague to compete in the Federation Cup as a member of the United States team. Though officially a non-person following her defection, Martina had clearly not been forgotten by the Czech public, as their emotional and prolonged welcome showed. Even Hana Mandlikova’s attempt to grab a little of the publicity by getting married in Prague during the week failed to dim the lustre of the Prodigal’s return."
John Parsons, in his review of the ITF year (p21), comments,
“It is difficult to pinpoint one particular highlight, although perhaps one of the memories which will linger longest was the wonderfully emotional welcome Martina Navratilova received from the people of Prague when she returned there, for the first time since her defection 11 years earlier, even though it was to wrest from Czechoslovakia the trophy which they had proudly held for three years”
Traits Gandhi considered the most spiritually perilous to humanity.*Wealth without Work * Pleasure without Conscience
*Science without Humanity *Knowledge without Character
*Politics without Principle *Commerce without Morality
*Worship without Sacrifice