Navratilova Relishing Role Away From Tennis Court

DENVER (CBS4/AP) – Don’t call it a comeback … Martina never left!  She just shifted gears.

Martina Navratilova has a message for those who want her to retire — you’d better pack a lunch. It’s gonna be a while. I love it! Her message is think big and be bold … and she’s doing just that. 

The 55-year-old was in Denver to speak at a Women’s Foundation of Colorado luncheon and speak to (as well as inspire) underserved girls between the ages of 5 and 10 during a tennis clinic.  She was a hit on and off the court!

Martina Navratilova talks with CBS4's Gloria Neal (credit: CBS)

You might say Navratilova moves around life at the same frenetic pace she once displayed on the tennis court. The nine-time Wimbledon champion simply can’t sit still.

That’s why she remains so active, spending much of her time on the run between speaking engagements, serving as a fitness ambassador for AARP, covering matches for the Tennis Channel and taking part in the occasional exhibition tennis game.

Finally, though, she’s taking a break.

To India. To relax at a spa. With no responsibilities. It’s Navratilova’s first real vacation in quite some time.

“I’m going to enjoy this,” Navratilova said Thursday after speaking at the luncheon.

For a few days, anyway. She freely admits she’s not one to kick back for too long. Never has been, preferring to keep a few irons in the fire at all times.

These days, Navratilova does quite a few speaking engagements, including appearances to raise awareness of breast cancer, a cause near to her since being diagnosed in 2010. She said she’s doing well, allowing her to remain on the go.

Martina Navratilova (credit: CBS)

“I do many different things,” said Navratilova, who lives in Aspen and also in Florida. “I would get bored if I kept doing the same thing.”

Besides winning matches, that is. That never got old.

Navratilova was one of the most accomplished tennis players in history, winning 18 Grand Slam titles in singles, 31 more in doubles and another 10 in mixed doubles. She won her last major title in mixed doubles with Bob Bryan at the 2006 U.S. Open, a month shy of her 50th birthday.

Naturally, Navratilova is still a big fan of the game. She appreciates the skills of players such as Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, enjoying her recent run to a Wimbledon crown.

Even more, Navratilova admires the robust rivalry on the men’s side between Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Djokovic turned in one of most dominating seasons in tennis history in 2011, winning the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open titles.

“Astonishing,” Navratilova said. “His level of play was just amazing.”

Does she ever miss competitive tennis?

“I don’t really think about it,” she said. “I don’t think about the past. Perhaps I should think about it more. I had a pretty great career as a tennis player. Now I’m trying to do other positive things, whether it’s through tennis or through my other work. I want to make a difference.”

One of the ways is through her work with AARP, offering tips on how to lead a healthy lifestyle. She’s also a big supporter of the gay and lesbian community.

“My life is very full and very fulfilling,” Navratilova said. “It’s really fun for me to be able to use the platform that I have.”

Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer, contributed a portion of this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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