Serena Williams ‘paved the way’ for mothers to keep playing tennis, says Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova believes Serena Williams paved the way for the modern-day role of women athletes by refusing to give up the sport she loved and had been dominating on the sport’s grandest stages.
Navratilova, the former world number one and four-time Grand Slam winner, told the Telegraph that the tennis legend’s refusal to retire has proved the world of women’s sport is not going anywhere.
In a wide-ranging interview, the Australian says there are plenty of athletes out there who have not been able to follow in her illustrious footsteps.
Navratilova is one of four women to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame – a recognition that she helped to lead to the recognition of tennis as a sport.
“I have always felt there are plenty of athletes in our sport who have not been able to keep making it,” she told the Telegraph.
“Some of them have given up. Some of them feel that they have missed their chance, and for me I say, ‘I want to live to play tennis.’
“For me, it has been a lifelong dream, so I really feel I have done some real good for the game.”
The 48-year-old former Olympic silver medallist is the latest woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
She added: “When I was there (in 2002), I was the only woman. From then on, it has just grown.”
A year on from her induction speech, Navratilova is still a familiar face to tennis fans as she battles to qualify for the US Open and continues to be the overwhelming favourite to win the French Open.
She said: “That is why they gave the Hall of Fame to me.”
Navratilova, who was awarded a full professorship at the University of Texas in 1997, has also become a world-renowned activist in the fight against breast cancer.
She is the patron of the American Cancer Society’s annual Make A Difference Award, which is dedicated to educating the public about the