Tennis Legend Martina Navratilova Announces Cancer ‘Double Whammy’

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has been diagnosed with a “double whammy” of cancer of the throat and breast.

The 66-year-old athlete was undergoing tests related to Stage 1 throat cancer when the breast cancer was discovered. She was previously diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and underwent a lumpectomy and radiation treatments.

“This double whammy is serious but still fixable, and I’m hoping for a favorable outcome,” Navratilova told Tennis.com. “It’s going to stink for a while, but I’ll fight with all have I got.”

Navratilova noticed a lump on her neck in November while working as an analyst at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas. She will begin treatment within weeks for the HPV-type throat cancer, which responds well to treatment. She has previously discussed being a cancer survivor, and will now rely once again on her resilience.

“I really didn’t talk much about breast cancer before I had it,” Navratilova told PEOPLE magazine. “Now, I’m approached by women and we share our stories. It’s encouraging to see that there’s life after cancer.”

Navratilova won 59 Grand Slam championships in singles, doubles, and mixed events in a career that began in the mid-1970s, around the time she defected from Czechoslovakia after a semifinal loss at the 1975 U.S. Open. Navratilova retired in 1994, after a record 167 singles titles and 331 weeks at No. 1 in the WTA rankings, but returned to play doubles in 2000. In her last match, she won the mixed doubles tournament at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Navratilova was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000 and has worked as a television tennis analyst.

A gay rights advocate since coming out as a lesbian in 1980, Navratilova spoke out in 2019 against biological males competing against women in sports. But when the trans community attacked her, she quickly changed her position, saying, “It blew up and I realized perhaps I don’t know as much as I thought.”

In the Monday statement, Navratilova’s representative said she would not be a regular part of Tennis Channel’s coverage of the Australian Open later this month “but hopes to be able to join in from time to time” via video conference.

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