The Australian Open
is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments
to be held each year. It is held each January at Melbourne Park
. The tournament was held for the first time in 1905. Like the other three Grand Slam events, it was contested by top-ranked amateur players and known as the Australasian Championships
until 1926 then the Australian Championships
until the advent of open era in 1968. Originally based at the grass courts
in the city of Melbourne
's inner south-east, the tournament was in danger of fading into irrelevance before being revived in 1988 with a shift to Melbourne Park
(then called Flinders Park), a new (Rebound Ace
venue next to the Melbourne Cricket Ground
on the southern fringe of the central business district. Mats Wilander
was the only player to win the tournament both on grass and on Rebound Ace. However, in 2008, the Rebound Ace surface, which had by then been in place for 20 years, was replaced by a cushioned acrylic surface known as Plexicushion
(born October 18, 1956) is a Czech American
and former Czechoslovak
tennis player and a former World No. 1
. Billie Jean King
said that Navratilova is, "The greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles
player who's ever lived." In 2006.
Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women's doubles titles (an all-time record), and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She reached the Wimbledon singles final 12 times, including 9 consecutive years from 1982 through 1990, and won the women's singles title at Wimbledon a record 9 times. She and King each won 20 Wimbledon titles, an all-time record.
Navratilova is one of just three women to have accomplished a career Grand Slam in singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles (called the Grand Slam "boxed set") a record she shares with Margaret Court and Doris Hart. She holds the open era record for most singles titles (167) and doubles titles (177). Navratilova, Margaret Court, and Maureen Connolly share the record for the most consecutive Grand Slam singles titles (six). In women's doubles, Navratilova and Pam Shriver won 109 consecutive matches and won all four Grand Slam titles in 1984. Also the pair set an all time record of 79 titles together and tied Louise Brough Clapp's and Margaret Osborne duPont's record of 20 Grand Slam women's doubles titles as a team.
Originally from Czechoslovakia, she was stripped of her citizenship when, in 1975 at the age of 18, she asked the United States for political asylum and was granted temporary residency. At the time, Navratilova was being told by the Czechoslovakian Sports Federation that she was becoming too Americanized. Navratilova became a US citizen in 1981, but on January 9, 2008, had her Czech citizenship restored. She stated she has not renounced her American citizenship nor does she plan to do so and that the restoration of her Czech citizenship was not politically motivated.
Navratilova is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy. She also serves the Health and Fitness Ambassador for AARP in an alliance created to help AARP's millions of members lead active, healthy lives.