Tennis / Wimbledon '93: It ain't over till it's over for Navratilova

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The Independent Online
MARTINA Navratilova walked out of Wimbledon last night with another incentive to return next year, having just collected her 18th title in the mixed doubles final alongside the Australian Mark Woodforde.

Warmly cheered by the Centre Court crowd following their 6-3, 6-4 victory over the Netherlands combination of Tom Nijssen and Manon Bollegraf - which leaves her just two short of Billie Jean King's record of 20 wins - Navratilova lobbed back this promise: 'I'll be back, I'll be back.'

Ever since her semi-final defeat in the singles by Jana Novotna that has been her line, a stoical response to suggestions that, with her 37th birthday only three months away, she has entertained too many to suffer in such a painful way.

Navratilova bats on, saying after claiming her first title here since 1990: 'We have to defend it next year. I have asked Mark to be my partner at the US Open and if I can walk I will be out here 12 months from now.'

She insists the King record is not a motivating force. 'I just want to play,' she said. 'Billie Jean could have 30 and I would still want to play. It's sweet to have won something again and if I only win one title every three years the record is going to take some getting but at least I am within striking distance.'

The Australian-American duo, in their first tournament together, rarely had to raise their game to see off the challenge of the 12th seeds and were detained only 66 minutes. Satisfying indeed for Navratilova to have upstaged a Graf once more, even if it was only half a Graf.

Having helped his compatriot Todd Woodbridge to the men's doubles title it was Woodforde's second such victory. Since he had done likewise at the Australian Open in January, it was also his second doubles double.