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The Inside Track

Navratilova Will Go It Alone in Eastbourne Tournament

June 15, 2002|From Associated Press

Martina Navratilova, who retired in 1994 after winning a record 167 singles titles, received a wild card Friday to play in next week's Eastbourne tournament.

"I'm very excited," she said. "It should be a whole lot of fun."

Navratilova was already in England practicing for the doubles draw with partner Natasha Zvereva when she learned of her singles berth. The grass-court event starts Monday.

"It's really going to be something else," she said, adding it's been a year since she played even noncompetitive singles.

Because she no longer has a singles ranking, Navratilova had to be granted a wild card into the main draw.

Navratilova, 45, returned to play doubles on the Sanex WTA Tour in 2000, and played doubles in 12 events last year.

Her best showing was a title in the Madrid Open last month with Zvereva, making Navratilova the oldest player to win a tour title. But Navratilova hasn't played a tour singles event since retiring in November 1994.

She decided to play singles again after losing an unspecified bet with her personal trainer. The loser had to do whatever the winner wished for, and her trainer's wish was for Navratilova to play singles again, she said.

"I'll be hedging my bets in the future," she said.

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