Martina Navratilova: "I've had a difficult year, but I'm fine now"

Internazionali BNL D
Martina Navratilova at the Italian Open 2023

Former World No. 1 Martina Navratilova claimed that she was better after enduring a tough year.

The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion was diagnosed with throat and breast cancer in January but became cancer-free in March following radiation therapy. The Czech-American was recently awarded the Racchetta d'Oro (Golden racket) at the Italian Open just days after Stefan Edberg received the honor.

Navratilova accepted the award from Nicola Pietrangeli at the Foro Italico and said in her speech that she was fine after enduring a difficult year. She also spoke about her love for Italy and its ice cream.

"Many of you know I've had a difficult year, but I'm fine now . I'm grateful for obvious reasons to be here with you, I've always loved Italy. My first tournament in Rome was in 1973, I've always loved the ice cream. Tennis has given me an amazing life for which I am very grateful, I have always tried to reciprocate, both on the court and after retirement," Martina Navratilova said.
"This wonderful sport is quite difficult and is a school of life. It teaches you patience, perseverance, continuing to fight, being fair and humble. No player is greater than the sport and always will be. I have never won this tournament, but I have always loved competing here for all of you," she added.

The former World No. 1 also said that she always felt at home in Italy because of the passion the fans showed for tennis.

"The passion you show for the sport is exactly what I feel, for this in Italy I have always felt at home. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the memories from the past and also for today. I appreciate this day that I will always remember," Navratilova said.

Daniela Hantuchova lavishes praise on Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova and Daniela Hantuchova at the 2018 Australian Open
Martina Navratilova and Daniela Hantuchova at the 2018 Australian Open

Daniela Hantuchova, who is currently a commentator on Amazon Prime, got emotional as she heaped praise on Martina Navratilova.

"I just want to say from personal experience, coming from the same part of the world, what Martina has achieved in tennis I think has to be multiplied by 10 times. During the rain breaks we have the privilege to talk to Martina about her background, how she left Czechoslovakia," Hantuchova said.
"And even for me, she was our national hero for every single little girl growing up laying tennis. We kind of knew it was tough for her but actually this week I learned so much more about it," she added.

Navratilova enjoyed an illustrious career, winning 18 Grand Slam singles titles. She is the record singles champion at Wimbledon, triumphing on nine occasions.