Navratilova reveals she is ‘cancer-free’ after double diagnosis

Navratilova reveals she is ‘cancer-free’ after double diagnosis
The 66-year-old Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, discussed her health in an interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV scheduled to be aired Mar. 21, 2023.(AP/File)
Short Url
Updated 21 March 2023

Navratilova reveals she is ‘cancer-free’ after double diagnosis

Navratilova reveals she is ‘cancer-free’ after double diagnosis
  • The former world number one revealed in January she had been diagnosed with throat and breast cancer
  • Navratilova, winner of 59 Grand Slam titles in singles and doubles, revealed her diagnosis had left her fearing the worst

LONDON: Martina Navratilova has revealed she is now “cancer-free” after the tennis great feared she “may not see next Christmas” following a devastating double diagnosis.
The former world number one, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles during her long career, revealed in January she had been diagnosed with throat and breast cancer.
The 66-year-old is due to undergo further preventative radiation treatment but said in an interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV she should then “be good to go.”
“As far as they know I’m cancer-free,” she said in the interview due to be aired later on Tuesday, excerpts of which were reported in the British press.
Navratilova, winner of 59 Grand Slam titles in singles and doubles, revealed her diagnosis had left her fearing the worst.
“I was in a total panic for three days thinking I may not see next Christmas,” she said.
“The bucket list came into my mind of all the things I wanted to do. And this may sound really shallow, but I was like, ‘OK, which kick-ass car do I really want to drive if I live like a year’?’“
Navratilova, who previously underwent treatment for early-stage breast cancer in 2010, sought medical help after noticing an enlarged lymph node in her neck, with tests subsequently confirming she had cancer.
She added: “This was the first week in December, (I’m thinking) I will see this Christmas but maybe not the next one.”
But doctors were able to tell her the throat cancer was “extremely treatable” and she had a “95-percent” chance of a full recovery.
Navratilova, a Czechoslovakia-born naturalized American, brought a new physical dimension to women’s tennis, with her powerful serve and agility at the net making her the dominant player of her era.
She won her first Wimbledon singles title in 1978 and went on to lift the trophy a record nine times — more than any other player in the men’s or women’s game.
Navratilova retired after winning the mixed doubles with Bob Bryan at the 2006 US Open shortly before her 50th birthday and has become a sought-after pundit.
Away from the courts, she has become an ardent defender of the LGBTQ cause. In 2014, she married her long-time partner Julia Lemigova.


Jabeur bounces back at French Open, Ruud and Russian teenager advance

Jabeur bounces back at French Open, Ruud and Russian teenager advance
Updated 30 May 2023

Jabeur bounces back at French Open, Ruud and Russian teenager advance

Jabeur bounces back at French Open, Ruud and Russian teenager advance
  • A year after her first-round exit, the No. 7 seed Jabeur beat Lucia Bronzetti 6-4, 6-1 to help erase some bad memories
  • "I’m very happy to win my first match on Philippe Chatrier — because I’ve never won here,” Jabeur said on court about the clay-court tournament's main stadium

PARIS: Ons Jabeur got a do-over on Court Philippe Chatrier at the French Open and won this time.
A year after her first-round exit, the No. 7 seed Jabeur beat Lucia Bronzetti 6-4, 6-1 to help erase some bad memories and answer questions about a recent calf injury.
The Tunisian, a crowd favorite in Paris, smiled and expressed relief in not repeating last year’s mistake, when she lost to Magda Linette of Poland.
“I’m very happy to win my first match on Philippe Chatrier — because I’ve never won here,” Jabeur said on court about the clay-court tournament’s main stadium.
Now she can focus on trying to win her first major. She was runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.
The 28-year-old Jabeur has also battled injuries this season. She had knee surgery after the Australian Open, and was then sidelined with a calf injury. She had stopped playing against top-ranked Iga Swiatek at the clay-court tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, in late April and then pulled out of the Madrid Open.
“It was a very difficult period for me after Stuttgart,” said Jabeur, adding that she’s beginning to find her rhythm.
Jabeur struck 27 winner’s to Bronzetti’s seven, though with 24 unforced errors she’ll have room to improve.
Also Tuesday, 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva had a memorable Grand Slam debut by dominating Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-2, 6-1. Andreeva’s older sister — 18-year-old Erika — was facing Emma Navarro later in the day.
Later, Swiatek gets her French Open title defense started against Cristina Bucsa, who is ranked 70th.
On the men’s side, No. 4 seed Casper Ruud beat qualifier Elias Ymer 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, to remind the higher-profile tournament favorites that he was runner-up to Rafael Nadal last year at Roland Garros.


Swiatek says Ukraine war has caused ‘chaos’ in sport

Swiatek says Ukraine war has caused ‘chaos’ in sport
Updated 30 May 2023

Swiatek says Ukraine war has caused ‘chaos’ in sport

Swiatek says Ukraine war has caused ‘chaos’ in sport
  • The Pole also hit out at the ruling bodies of tennis, the ATP and WTA, saying they had failed to provide leadership on the issue of Ukrainian players facing Russians on the court
  • "Those who are in the worst position are the Ukrainian players and it would be good if we paid more attention to what they feel and what they endure," Swiatek said

PARTSI: Reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek says the Ukraine war has caused “chaos” in the world of sport.
In an interview with French daily Le Monde on Tuesday, the Pole also hit out at the ruling bodies of tennis, the ATP and WTA, saying they had failed to provide leadership on the issue of Ukrainian players facing Russians on the court.
“There are indeed tensions among the players, sometimes the atmosphere in the locker room is quite heavy,” the 21-year-old said.
“At the beginning of the conflict, there was a lack of leadership on the part of the tennis authorities, we were not brought together to explain how we were supposed to manage this complex situation and how to behave.
“Those who are in the worst position are the Ukrainian players and it would be good if we paid more attention to what they feel and what they endure.”
Her fears were illustrated on Sunday when Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk was booed at the French Open for refusing to shake hands with Belarusian opponent Aryna Sabalenka.
Kostyuk said the Paris crowd should “feel embarrassed” by their actions.
Swiatek, whose country neighbors Ukraine, was asked if she would support the participation of athletes from Russia and their ally Belarus at the Paris Olympics next year.
“It is not for us as athletes to make such a decision,” she said. “There is currently a kind of chaos in sport and the most important thing is not to make it worse, to share values that are the right ones and to be clear that we cannot tolerate the ongoing war.”
Russia and Belarus were banned from international competition following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022,
In March this year, the International Olympic Committee recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes return to international competition, without commenting on their possible presence at the Paris Games.


Alcaraz, Djokovic face brief trouble late in straight-set victories at French Open

Alcaraz, Djokovic face brief trouble late in straight-set victories at French Open
Updated 30 May 2023

Alcaraz, Djokovic face brief trouble late in straight-set victories at French Open

Alcaraz, Djokovic face brief trouble late in straight-set victories at French Open
  • Before the start of the tournament, Djokovic called Alcaraz the logical pick to take the trophy
  • Part of the group of past Grand Slam champions who won Monday were Stan Wawrinka and Sloane Stephens

PARIS: Pretty much everyone expects to see, and likely wants to see, Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic face each other in the French Open semifinals. There’s work to be done first, of course, and both began their journeys at Roland Garros with straight-set victories Monday against opponents making Grand Slam debuts.

These were supposed to be straightforward chances to ease into the clay-court tournament for the two popular picks to win the men’s trophy — and it turned out that way, other than a brief late blip for each.

Djokovic, a 22-time major champ seeded No. 3, was up first in Court Philippe Chatrier, facing 114th-ranked Aleksandar Kovacevic, a 24-year-old from New York.

Djokovic served for the victory at 5-4 in the third set but got broken there. Not surprisingly, he quickly righted himself and won 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (1).

“Made me work for my victory,” Djokovic said.

“I played really well and held things under control for 2 1/2 sets and then lost my serve and things got a little bit on a wrong side for me,” said the 36-year-old Serb, who can break the men’s mark for most Slam titles he currently shares with Rafael Nadal, the 14-time French Open winner sidelined by a bad hip. “But I managed to hold my nerves and played pretty much a perfect tiebreak.”

Next came Alcaraz, a one-time major champ seeded No. 1, in Court Suzanne Lenglen, facing 159th-ranked qualifier Flavio Cobolli, a 21-year-old from Florence, Italy.

Alcaraz held three match points to close things at 5-3 in the third set but couldn’t convert, then found himself at 5-all minutes later. Not surprisingly, he quickly righted himself and won 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.

Before the start of the tournament, Djokovic called Alcaraz the logical pick to take the trophy, given his recent form on clay: 21-2 as of Monday, with three titles.

Hard to argue.

On the other hand, Djokovic also noted that he loves the best-of-five-set format of majors and not-so-accidentally mentioned the 22-1 gap in such championships.

Other seeded men advancing on Day 2 in Paris included No. 12 Frances Tiafoe, No. 14 Cam Norrie, No. 15 Borna Coric, No. 18 Alex de Minaur, No. 19 Roberto Bautista Agut and No. 26 Denis Shapovalov. Among the seeded women moving into the second round: No. 5 Caroline Garcia, No. 14 Beatriz Haddad Maia, No. 20 Madison Keys and No. 22 Donna Vekic.

Seeds on the way out included No. 12 Belinda Bencic and No. 16 Karolina Pliskova in the women’s bracket and No. 10 Felix Auger-Aliassime and No. 25 Botic Van de Zandschulp in the men’s.

Part of the group of past Grand Slam champions who won Monday were Stan Wawrinka and Sloane Stephens.

Wawrinka edged Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-7 (2), 1-6, 6-4 across more than 4 1/2 hours, while 2017 US Open title winner Stephens defeated two-time major finalist Pliskova 6-0, 6-4.

“One of the big reasons why I keep playing is to relive those emotions. It was special today again to be here, a lot of support, a lot of fans here. It helped me a lot today to stay in the match and to keep fighting for it,” said Wawrinka, a 38-year-old whose three major titles include the 2015 French Open but has dealt with a series of injuries in more recent years. “If I can stay five more minutes on court, I will do it.”


French Open 2023: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz ready to get started at Roland Garros

French Open 2023: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz ready to get started at Roland Garros
Updated 29 May 2023

French Open 2023: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz ready to get started at Roland Garros

French Open 2023: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz ready to get started at Roland Garros
  • Djokovic begins his bid to break the men’s record he currently shares with Rafael Nadal by earning Grand Slam trophy No. 23
  • Alcaraz, a 20-year-old from Spain ranked No. 1 who won the US Open in September, faces Flavio Cobolli

PARIS: Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic, two men expected to go far at the French Open, make their 2023 Roland Garros debuts on Monday against a pair of opponents who never have played a Grand Slam match.

Alcaraz, a 20-year-old from Spain ranked No. 1 who won the US Open in September, faces Flavio Cobolli, an Italian who is ranked 159th. Djokovic, who won two of his 22 major championships in Paris, takes on Aleksander Kovacevic, an American ranked 114th.

Asked to compare the Alcaraz of today to the Alcaraz of a year ago, his coach, 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, began by saying: “As a person, I would say he’s more mature.”

And then Ferrero added: “As a player, I think he grows up, like, super fast on the court. He can, let’s say, read the matches a little bit better.”

Djokovic begins his bid to break the men’s record he currently shares with Rafael Nadal by earning Grand Slam trophy No. 23. Djokovic also can become the only man with at least three titles from each major.

Other major champs on the Day 2 schedule include Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova, Jelena Ostapenko, Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem.

Play begins at 11 a.m. local time in Paris, which is 5 a.m. EDT, everywhere except the main stadium, Court Philippe Chatrier, where the first match — 2017 US Open champion Stephens against two-time major finalist Karolina Pliskova — is scheduled to start at 11:45 a.m. local time, which is 5:45 a.m. EDT. Djokovic-Kovacevic will be next on that court. Alcaraz-Cobolli is the third match at Court Suzanne Lenglen, so could begin around 4 p.m. local time, which is 10 a.m. EDT.

WHAT HAPPENED SUNDAY?

A handful of seeded players exited: No. 8 Maria Sakkari, No. 21 Magda Linette, and No. 29 Zhang Shuai from the women’s draw; No. 20 Dan Evans and No. 30 Ben Shelton from the men’s. The day’s biggest news, though, emerged from a straight-set victory for No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. That’s because her opponent, Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk, did not shake hands at the net — something she has consistently avoided doing with players from Russia and Belarus since those countries began the war in Ukraine more than a year ago. The crowd, seemingly unaware of why Kostyuk avoided Sabalenka after the match, booed and whistled.

GET CAUGHT UP

What you need to know about the year’s second Grand Slam tennis tournament:

- Nadal is not here

- Djokovic can break a tie with Nadal by winning Slam No. 23

- Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina split past four major titles

- Alcaraz, Djokovic drawn to meet in the semifinals


Djokovic says ‘part of me will leave’ when Nadal quits

Djokovic says ‘part of me will leave’ when Nadal quits
Updated 27 May 2023

Djokovic says ‘part of me will leave’ when Nadal quits

Djokovic says ‘part of me will leave’ when Nadal quits
  • Djokovic shares the all-time men's record of 22 Grand Slam titles with Nadal but can break that tie by winning the French Open for a third time
  • Nadal, the 14-time champion in Paris, is sitting out Roland Garros with a hip injury

PARIS: Novak Djokovic admitted Saturday that when career-long rival Rafael Nadal retires next year “part of me will be leaving too.”
Djokovic shares the all-time men’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles with Nadal but can break that tie by winning the French Open for a third time.
Nadal, the 14-time champion in Paris, is sitting out Roland Garros with a hip injury. With his 37th birthday fast approaching, the Spaniard has admitted that 2024 will likely be his final year on tour.
“When he announced that he’s going to have his last season of his career, I felt part of me is leaving with him too,” said Djokovic.
“It made me think about my career and how long I’m going to play.
“I’m not going to make any announcement today, but just reflecting on it. I felt also a little bit emotional about what he was saying.”
Djokovic holds a 30-29 career edge over Nadal but the Spanish star has been the superior force at Roland Garros with eight wins in the pair’s 10 meetings.
“I don’t like seeing him in the draw of Roland Garros, to be honest,” added Djokovic.
“I have had not so much success against him in our head-to-head. I have managed to beat him twice, but I had to leave my heart and my guts out on the court to achieve that.”
Should Djokovic add the 2023 French Open title to his wins in 2016 and 2021, he will not only break the Grand Slam tie with Nadal in the men’s record books.
He would also go level with Serena Williams’s 23 and be just one short of the overall record for men and women in the sport — the 24 Grand Slams held by Margaret Court.
“It’s no secret that one of the main reasons I play today and compete in professional tennis is to try to break more records and make more history in tennis,” said Djokovic.
“That’s extremely motivating and inspiring for me. History being on the line is something that is very flattering.”
Despite his two titles at Roland Garros, Djokovic insists current world number one Carlos Alcaraz is favorite to add a maiden Paris crown to his US Open triumph.
The 20-year-old Spaniard, 16 years Djokovic’s junior, has titles on clay in Buenos Aires, Madrid and Barcelona this spring.
By comparison, Djokovic failed to get beyond the last eight in any of his clay tournaments with his progress hampered by the recurrence of an elbow injury.
“He’s No. 1 in the world, and he’s a player that won big titles on clay this season. So right now he is the biggest favorite regardless of the fact that he has one Grand Slam and I have 22.”
Djokovic and Alcaraz are seeded to meet in the semifinals of the French Open which starts Sunday.
Alcaraz will start his campaign against Italy’s world number 159 Flavio Cobolli.
Djokovic, meanwhile, will take on 114th-ranked Aleksandar Kovacevic of the United States who will be making his main draw bow at the major.