Martina Navratilova is diagnosed with throat and breast cancer : NPR

Martina Navratilova looks on after the women’s singles final match at the 2022 US Open in New York.

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Martina Navratilova looks on after the women’s singles final match at the 2022 US Open in New York.

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

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 on Monday. “The prognosis is good,” his agent Mary Greenham said in an email to NPR. “Both of these cancers are in their early stages with excellent results.”

Navratilova, who works as 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 throat cancer. Then, while Navratilova was undergoing tests on her throat growth, doctors discovered unrelated breast cancer.

This is Navratilova’s second battle with cancer. In 2010, she announced that she was being treated for breast cancer after a tumor was discovered during a routine mammogram. The tumor was surgically removed and Navratilova underwent brief radiation therapy.

Navratilova was born in Prague in 1956, when the city was part of communist Czechoslovakia. As a teenager, she quickly became a tennis star, winning her first professional singles title in the United States in 1974.

The following year, after turning 18, she told US immigration authorities in New York that she wanted to leave Czechoslovakia. She soon received a green card and became an American citizen in 1981.

His defection from communist Czechoslovakia figured prominently in his career and personal history. When she left home, Navratilova didn’t know if she would ever see her family again, she told NPR in an interview last year.

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

Her move to the United States came as women’s professional tennis was booming, with popular and electric stars like Billie Jean King and Chris Evert.

Navratilova would become the first woman to earn $1 million in a single 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 wins. Navratilova’s 332 weeks as the best player in the world is more than anything but Steffi Graff. The Associated Press declared her Female Athlete of the Year in 1983 and 1984.

She retired from full-time singles competition 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, about a month before she turned 50.


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