Navratilova’s despair at cancer diagnosis

FORMER women’s world No1 Martina Navratilova has revealed she is battling breast cancer and is due to begin radiotherapy next month.

The 53-year-old, who won the last of nine Wimbledon singles titles in 1990, was diagnosed in February after a routine mammogram.

“I cried. It knocked me on my ass, really,” said Navratilova. “I feel so in control of my life and my body, and then this comes, and it’s completely out of my hands.”

Navratilova has been diagnosed with a non-invasive form of cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ and has been told she has a 99 per cent chance of surviving. She has had surgery to remove a lump and will begin six weeks of radiation treatment in May. Dr Mindy Nagle, the tennis star’s doctor, said: “It was the best-case scenario you could imagine for detecting breast cancer.”

Navratilova still leads an active lifestyle, regularly playing tennis and ice hockey as well as taking part in triathlons, but she considers herself lucky for catching the disease when she did, having let her check-ups slip.

“I went four years between mammograms,” she added. “I let it slide. Everyone gets busy, but don’t make excuses. I stay in shape and eat right, and it happened to me. Another year and I could have been in big trouble.”

Nationality: Czech/American
Career titles: 167
Grand Slam singles titles: 18 (Australian Open 3, French Open 2, Wimbledon 9, US Open 4)
Career prize money: $21.6m (£14.2m)