2002 Britannic Asset Management

End of an era for ‘nicer’ Navratilova

A fond farewell for the all-time great of Devonshire Park Navratilova

The legendary Martina Navratilova, who amassed an incredible 18 Grand Slam Singles titles, waved goodbye to the Eastbourne Centre Court crowd for the last time following her defeat to Daniela Hantuchova.

The Czech-born American ace, who at her peak won 74 successive matches on the WTA Tour, made her farewell to Devonshire Park as a one-off at the grand age of 45 in a bid to prove that she was still sharp.

She was never going to add to her 11 titles at the pre-Wimbledon tournament, although she beat Russia’s Tatiana Panova in yesterday’s 1st Round three set tussle.

Nine-time Wimbledon winner Navratilova said: “I know I’m an exception because you don’t see any men of my age still competing.

“Tennis is a crazy game, with such a thin line between winning and losing. It may be stupid but I have a good time out there on court and it inspires me to do better.

“When I was beating everyone years ago I got really upset because I wasn’t used to it. I tried to be a nice person, but I was a spoilt brat and brusque. I still am, but now I’m nicer.”

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