Martina Navratilova is diagnosed with throat and breast cancer : NPR

Martina Navratilova watches after the Women’s Singles Final of the 2022 US Open in New York.

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Martina Navratilova watches after the Women’s Singles Final of the 2022 US Open in New York.

Sarah Stier/Getty photo

Martina Navratilova, the tennis legend who dominated the sport in the 1970s and 1980s and won 59 major titles in her historic career, has been diagnosed with throat and breast cancer.

Navratilova, 66, will begin treatment later this month, she announced Monday. “The prognosis is good,” her representative Mary Greenham said in an email to NPR. “Both of these cancers are in the early stages with excellent results.”

Navratilova, a tennis commentator, noticed an enlarged lymph node on her neck during the Women’s Tennis Association final in Fort Worth, Texas, last fall, her agent said. A biopsy revealed it to be stage 1 nasopharyngeal cancer. Later, while Navratilova was undergoing tests for a growth in her throat, doctors discovered an unrelated breast cancer. .

This is the second time Navratilova has had cancer. In 2010, she stated that She is being treated for breast cancer after a lump is discovered during a routine mammogram. The tumor was surgically removed and Navratilova underwent a short course of radiation.

Navratilova was born in Prague in 1956, when the city was part of Communist Czechoslovakia. As a teenager, she quickly became a prominent tennis player, winning her first professional singles title in the US in 1974.

The following year, when she turned 18, she told US immigration officials in New York City that she wanted to defect from Czechoslovakia. She was soon granted a green card and became a US citizen in 1981.

Her defection from communist Czechoslovakia had a huge impact on her career and personal story. When she left home, Navratilova did not know if she would ever see her family again. she told NPR in an interview last year.

“I stuck with the communist regime by leaving and succeeding. But it was a one-way ticket, so I lost all my time with my family and never got it back, and it was brutal,” she said.

Her move to the United States comes at a time when women’s professional tennis is flourishing, with stars as famous and powerful as Billie Jean King and Chris Evert.

Navratilova will become the first woman to earn $1 million in a season and the first tennis player – male or female – to earn $10 million in her career. She has won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 women’s doubles titles and 10 mixed doubles titles, for a total of 59 major tournament titles. Navratilova spent 332 weeks ranked as the top female tennis player in the world, more than all but Steffi Graff. The Associated Press declared her Female Athlete of the Year in 1983 and 1984.

She retired from singles full-time in 1994 at the age of 37. But she continued to compete in doubles well into the 2000s, winning her 59th and final title at the 2006 US Open, only about a month before she turned 50.


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