Disillusioned with the US, Navratilova defects again
Wednesday 12 March 2008
Martina Navratilova has regained Czech nationality more than 30 years after fleeing a Communist regime she now compares favourably to that of her adopted country America under President George Bush.
The nine-time Wimbledon champion and one of the world's greatest ever tennis players, Ms Navratilova was born in Prague. She fled in 1975 at the height of the Cold War after being denied the right to compete in professional tennis in the US, where most major tournaments were then played and to where she later moved.
After angering the Communist authorities and living in America for six years, she became a US citizen.
Yesterday, however, she told a press conference in Tokyo that she now has her home citizenship back. "I lost it at the time I defected. I got it back on 9 January," she said.
The widely respected star had previously spoken of her disdain of the government of her adopted nation. "The thing is that we elected Bush," she told the Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny. "That is worse. Against that, nobody chose a Communist government in Czechoslovakia."
She will now maintain dual citizenship with both the US and the Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia split in 1993 after the fall of the Berlin Wall into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Freed up to play her beloved sport, Ms Navratilova went on to dominate it, winning 18 Grand Slams in total including four at the US Open and three at the Australian Open as well as her victories at Wimbledon, where she was perhaps most celebrated, playing a record 279 matches.
She officially retired in 1994, but returned to the circuit in 2000 to play doubles, winning several tournaments, including at Wimbledon in 2003, making her the oldest champion at 46.
She finally hung up her racquet in September 2006 after winning the US Open with her friend Bob Bryan – the 354th and final tournament of her career. At the time she said: "While tennis will always be a huge part of who I am, that chapter in my life is officially closed. And you know, I haven't looked back since."
Ms Navratilova, 51, is now planning to open an academy for the advancement of young tennis players in the Czech Republic.
Looking back on her life, Ms Navratilova has said: "At about eight years old, I decided tennis was going to be the ticket.
"Mind you there was no money in it back then, but I loved the game so much, so my family did everything to make that happen."
After what she described as a "pretty normal life until I hit 16", when, during her first year on tour, "it was a treat to go 'west' for a once in a lifetime vacation. So I knew I was pretty lucky".
Over the years Ms Navratilova has been a high-profile supporter of a number of charities devoted to deprived children, animal rights and gay rights.
- 1 Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
- 3 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 4 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Nazi gold train: 'Significant' discovery made in Poland
Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Carol Vorderman reveals she is 'covered in burns' after she fell off her treadmill while running naked
TTIP controversy: The European Commission and Big Tobacco accused of cover-up after heavily redacted documents released
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...
£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...