Martina Navratilova, the tennis icon who won 59 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles during her career, said Monday that she has been diagnosed with Stage 1 throat cancer and, separately, Stage 1 breast cancer.
She had been scheduled to work as an analyst for the Tennis Channel at the upcoming Australian Open which begins January 15. She now says she hopes she can make some video appearances during the network’s coverage of the year’s first Slam.
“This double whammy is serious but still fixable,” Navratilova, 66, said in a statement on the WTA’s website today. “I’m hoping for a favorable outcome. It’s going to stink for a while, but I’ll fight with all have I got.”
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Navratilova, who was previously diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, said she discovered an enlarged lymph node in her neck in November during the WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas. Her doctors subsequently discovered the throat cancer and then the breast cancer, diagnoses as human papillomavirus (HPV).
Navratilova said her treatments begin next week, mostly in New York City.
Considered one of the best tennis players ever, Navratilova, born in Czechoslovakia before defecting to the U.S. in the mid-1970s, won 18 major singles titles including nine Wimbledons and eight WTA tour championships. The left-hander was dominant even later in her career; in the 1980s, she had consecutive match winning streaks of 58, 54 and 51, according to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, where she was inducted in 2000. She once spent 331 weeks at No. 1 in the WTA rankings.
Since retiring, Navratilova has been a fixture as a tennis analyst on TV. She said today in a statement that while she would not be a regular part of Tennis Channel’s coverage of the Australian Open, she “hopes to be able to join in from time to time” via video conference.
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