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Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova

Born: Prague, Czechoslovakia, October 18, 1956

Wimbledon titles: 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990.

Runner-up: 1988, 1989, 1994.

Grand Slam titles: 18

Career prize money: $20,344,061

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s the Czech-born left-hander, who became a naturalised American in 1975, raised the women’s game to a new level with power and aggression.

Her fitness levels and commitment to training set new standards. It paid off. Her nine titles at Wimbledon are still a record, along with the six in a row between 1982 and 1987.

Amazingly, she had never even seen a grass court until a week before her first appearance there in 1973.

Watching Wimbledon on television as a child, she had no idea how long the grass would be, imagining it would be a couple of inches long like a football pitch.

When she leant down to touch the court at Queen’s Club, where she was practicing before Wimbledon, she could not believe how short and tightly-woven it was.

She said: "Wimbledon is like a drug. Once you win it for the first time you feel you’ve just got to do it again and again and again."

She beat many of Billie Jean King’s Wimbledon records, including a record 279 matches in singles. At the start of her career, her rivalry with Chris Evert was one of the greatest in any sport. By the end of her playing days she was slugging it out with Steffi Graf.

She won 19 Wimbledon titles, one short of King, whom she helped to the doubles crown in 1979.

She said: "If I ever reached the stage where winning Wimbledon was no big deal, I’d know it was time for me to get out of the game."

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