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NAVRATILOVA TARGETS SINGLES APPEARANCE
By Ian Laybourn, PA Sport

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova is aiming to play singles once more after requesting wild-card entry into next week's Hastings Direct International in Eastbourne.

The 46-year-old nine-times Wimbledon champion, who made a singles comeback at the same event 12 months ago, wants to play singles to sharpen her doubles play ahead of Wimbledon, where she will be seeking to add to her amazing tally of 170 doubles titles.

Navratilova and Australia's Alicia Molik reached the second round of the doubles in the DFS Classic in Birmingham on Wednesday with a 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory over number four seeds Nathalie Dechy and Emilie Loit of France.

"I would have played singles here if I could have got here sooner," she said.

"But I had a broken tooth to get fixed in Paris and I couldn't leave until Saturday.

"I'm trying to get in (to Eastbourne) because it makes me play better for the doubles but it would be too much to play singles at Wimbledon."

Navratilova, wearing her trademark shorts and a baseball cap back to front, looked as fit as ever as she thrilled the centre-court crowd at Edgbaston with her agility and deft touches.

She admitted she was unlikely to play on until the age of 50 but has no plans to hang up a racket for a second time just yet.

"I feel I am hitting the ball as well as I was in the '80s," she said.

"I've been playing well. I played really well in Berlin and Rome.

"I should not be playing at 46. I am not playing as well as I was when I was 26 but I'm playing better than I was at 36."

At Eastbourne last year Navratilova defeated Russian Tatiana Panova, a player 20 years her junior and ranked just outside the world's top 20, in the first round before bowing out to Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia
 
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