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Martina Navratilova

Martina with Leander Pease winning
Wimbledon 2003 doubles

Winning the 2003 mixed doubles with Leander Paes took Martina Navratilova to the record-equalling mark of 20 Wimbledon titles.

She shares that honour with Billie Jean King, having already beaten many of her other landmarks, not least by playing a record 279 singles matches at Wimbledon.

Her haul of nine singles titles at Wimbledon is also still to be surpassed, as is her achievement of winning six in a row between 1982 and 1987.

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Navratilova raised the women's game to a new level with power and aggression. The Czech-born left-hander, who became a naturalised American in 1975, also set new standards with her astonishing fitness levels and commitment.

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 later declared: "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"

left-handed champion

Martina retired in 1994, although later returned to play doubles matches, teaming up with Paes this July for that famous 20th title. "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," she once said.

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