Thursday, June 21, 2012
40 greatest female athletes: Martina Navratilova
A slice backhand and a brilliant net game helped Martina Navratilova win a record nine Wimbledon singles titles.
ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.
Martina Navratilova arrived on the tennis stage as a 16-year-old in the 1973 French Open, where she made it to the quarterfinals as an unseeded player.
By the time she was finished after more than 30 years in professional tennis, she had amassed more singles titles (167) and doubles titles (177) than any woman or man in the Open Era.
The No. 2 woman in ESPN's countdown won 18 Grand Slam singles titles -- including a record nine Wimbledon trophies -- and 59 majors altogether, including the U.S. Open mixed doubles title in 2006, when she was a month shy of her 50th birthday. She claimed major titles in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
Legend Billie Jean King calls Navratilova "the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who's ever lived."