Saturday, July 08, 2006

Farewell, Martina

Martina Navratilova, my favorite tennis player of all time, has played her last match at Wimbledon. Amid the the hubbub of the same-sex marriage decision Thursday, I missed this. This is ironic, of course--Navratilova is lesbian.

Actually, she played and lost two matches Thursday, her quarter-final one in women's doubles, and her third round match in mixed doubles. The mixed was her final one, unfortunately out on Court 2, not on Centre Court, where a player with her history at Wimbledon should have bowed out. Her partner, Mark Knowles, was understandably tired after his record-breaking men's doubles match. Navratilova will remain tied with Billie Jean King for having won the most Wimbledon championships, 20--another irony, as she helped, practically carried, King to her last title in the 1979 doubles.

Yeah, I said 1979. Navratilova will be 50 in October. She retired once before, but returned after three years. She picked up one more Wimbledon title in 2003, the mixed with Leander Paes, to tie King.

She has said she will retire this year. So, good luck, Martina. Thanks for all the great tennis, and thanks for giving us older folk a reason to smile. I hope you find something as rewarding as tennis has been to occupy your life.

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