Martina Navratilova proposes to girlfriend at US Open

Tennis great Navratilova's proposal was accepted by her long-term partner Julia Lemigova between the men's semifinal matches at the US Open

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The Independent Online

Former women's tennis champion Martina Navratilova proposed to her girlfriend on the big screen of the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open.

The crowd roared in delight as Julia Lemigova happily accepted the public proposal.

"I was very nervous," Navratilova, 57, said about the proposal made from the Tennis Channel suite. "It came off. She said yes. It was kind of an out-of-body experience. You've seen people propose at sporting events before, in movies, in real life. Here it was happening to me. It was like I was watching myself do it."

Navaratilova, who represented Czechoslovakia in an illustrious career during which she won a record-breaking 18 Grand Slam singles titles, came out as gay in 1981, shortly after becoming a US citizen.

Video: Watch Martina Navratilova propose

The proposal was made between the mens semi-final matches, after Navratilova failed to postpone a 'Champions' doubles match that she was due to play that evening. She was concerned that the Nishikori-Djokovic match would go to five sets. Fortunately, it ended in four.

Navratilova went on to win her doubles match, partnering with Tracy Austin, to round off her day of triumph. Austin, who had missed the news, asked her re-enact the whole thing - a request Navratilova gleefully obliged.

That evening she tweeted a message of thanks to her supporters: "Thanks everyone for your good wishes - I am very happy, so is Julia and our whole family :)"

Navratilova said she and Lemigova would prefer to get married in Florida, where they live. A federal judge ruled last month that the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, but Florida officials are appealing.

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