Martina Navratilova has reached the summit of her sport 59 times. That represents 18 Grand Slam event titles in singles, 31 in women’s doubles and 10 in mixed doubles.
But last week, she found a mountain tougher than Steffi Graf’s forehand or Billie Jean King’s slice serve. It stands 19,341 feet and is named Kilimanjaro.
“I had no pain,” she said Sunday, “but I had to retire from my match.”
She was speaking by telephone to a handful of reporters around the world. She said she was sitting in the garden at a friend’s home in the Nairobi, Kenya, suburb of Karen.
“I’m just relaxing here,” she said. “One of the local dogs is next to me. I’m reading a book called ‘Cutting for Stone.’ I was going to read it on my climb, but there was no chance for that.”
No chance, indeed.