Navratilova secures record-equalling title

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The Independent Online

Another chapter in the phenomenal career of Martina Navratilova was written on Centre Court as Wimbledon 2003 ended with the 46-year-old becoming the oldest champion with a record-equalling 20th Wimbledon title.

Navratilova and the Indian Leander Paes followed up their Australian Open title with a first together at Wimbledon, secured in bright early evening sunshine in her favourite arena. The only disappointment was that the opposition, the Israeli Andy Ram and the Russian Anastassia Rodionova, were not of higher calibre, and the 6-3, 6-2 scoreline testifies to the difference in class.

Not that anyone was worried about that when Paes punched away the volley that takes Navratilova level with Billie-Jean King on 20 Wimbledon titles. The two broke the Ram serve in the opening game, and were never broken themselves.

Navratilova, who will be 47 on 18 October, partnered King to her 20th title in the women's doubles final of 1979. Now, she not only equalled her mentor's record, but becomes the oldest player to win a main-draw Wimbledon title, beating Margaret Dupont by well over two years.

She told the crowd: "This is so special, and Leander and I only came together at last year's US Open because we were dumped by our then mixed doubles partners."

Todd Woodbridge moved closer to being the most successful doubles player of the professional era by claiming his eighth men's doubles crown. He and Jonas Bjorkman retained their title with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 win over the top seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi. It makes Woodbridge the first man to win eight doubles titles since Laurie and Reggie Doherty in 1905.

Woodbridge has now won 76 men's doubles tournaments, leaving him two behind Tom Okker's record of 78 won since the open era began in 1968.

Kim Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama repeated their French Open women's doubles win over the top seeds and world champions Virginia Ruano-Pascual and Paola Suarez, this time 6-4, 6-4 in 76 minutes.