Martina Navratilova is one of the foremost winning athletes of all-time, she knows what it takes to overcome the odds. A champion tennis player, Martina Navratilova’s sheer strength and motivation made her a force to be reckoned with on the courts. Her intense training and mental toughness led her to achieve more singles and doubles tournament wins than anyone else during the open era. And beyond the tennis world, her character and determination have made her one of the most vocal advocates for a number of causes, ranging from equal rights to AIDS research. Well known for her sharp wit as well as her candid and powerful speeches, Navratilova has become an in-demand speaker, delivering keynote addresses and in-depth commentary to those around the world.
A champion on and off the court, Martina Navratilova is not only a tennis legend, but an inspirational leader who demonstrates tenacity, candor and sheer motivation. Arguably the best tennis player ever to step on the court, Navratilova amassed an unmatched number of professional records over the course of a career that spanned an amazing four decades. She has won 59 grand slam crowns, a record 9 Wimbledon single’s champions, and has overcome the odds to become both one of the most successful tennis players ever and an equally successful leader.
Born October 18, 1956, in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Martina Navratilova emigrated to the United States at the age of 19 to leave behind the oppressive communist regime in power in her home country. By 1980, she had already earned two Wimbledon championships, been named tour player of the year twice, and won a countless number of singles and doubles matches; she was the most dominant player in tennis at the time. She went on to win another 7 Wimbledon titles in the following years and during the 1983 season, lost only one of the 87 matches she played that year.
Over the course of her tennis career, Martina Navratilova was the WTA’s “Tour Player of the Year” seven times, named the Associated Press’s “Female Athlete of the Year” and declared one of the “Top Forty Athletes of All-time” by Sports Illustrated. After being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, she continued to compete in a variety of Grand Slams as well as at the 2004 Olympics Games, but time finally caught up to Navratilova, and in 2006 she left the tour circuit behind after her last Grand Slam championship, a mixed-doubles win with Bob Bryan.
Off the court, Martina Navratilova has lived an equally bold and successful life. As one of the first openly gay sports figures, Navratilova has spent much of her career overcoming prejudices and stereotypes, losing millions of dollars in endorsement deals along the way just because of her sexual orientation. However, Navratilova remains unapologetic about her decision as her honestly, integrity and courage have inspired many people in similar situations. Since coming out in 1981, she has been a vocal advocate for equal rights and a strong supporter of many charities which directly benefit the LGBT community. She has received numerous awards from many of the largest organizations within the LGBT community and has donated much time and money to the cause through her Rainbow Card and the associated Rainbow Endowment.