Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was diagnosed with throat and breast cancer, she announced Monday. The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion got tested after she noticed a lump on her body in November and both cancers were caught at an early stage.
“The double whammy is serious, but fixable, and I’m hoping for a favourable outcome,” she said on a statement. “It’s going to stink for a while, but I’ll fight with all I have got.”
Navratilova noticed an enlarged lymph node in her neck during the WTA Finals in November. During the testing, a lump was also discovered in her breast. She was diagnosed with a noninvasive form of breast cancer in 2010 and had a lumpectomy along with radiation treatment.
She had remained cancer-free since then.
According to WTA, she cried for “about 15 seconds” when she got diagnosed in 2010, and then asked her doctor, “OK, what do we do? What’s the next step?”
She used that difficult experience to have more conversations about cancer.
“I really didn’t talk much about breast cancer before I had it,” Navratilova told People Magazine in 2010. “Now, I’m approached by women and we share our stories. It’s encouraging to see that there’s life after cancer.”
Her tennis career was quite an impressive one. She won a total of 59 major titles including 18 major singles titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles and 10 major mixed doubles titles. Navratilova had registered 1,438 singles match wins and had spent 331 weeks at No. 1 in the WTA rankings when she retired after the 1994 season at the age of 38. She continued her doubles career into her 40s.
Navratilova was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000 and is still involved in tennis as a TV analyst. She was originally scheduled to cover the upcoming Australian Open from the Tennis Channel studio, but now hopes to arrange some Zoom appearances in the near future.