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Navratilova Goes Out in Grand Style, With a Title

September 10, 2006|Bill Dwyre

NEW YORK — She went out the way she should have -- in a Grand Slam final, on center court, in front of a large crowd. Winning another title.

Martina Navratilova, 49, affectionately referred to as "Granny" by other members of the pro tennis tour, won her 59th Grand Slam title, teaming Saturday night with Camarillo's Bob Bryan to take the U.S. Open mixed doubles championship, 6-2, 6-3, over Martin Damm and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic.

The U.S. Tennis Assn. gave Navratilova the Arthur Ashe Stadium stage for her grand finale, and a crowd of perhaps 10,000 stayed after the women's singles final to watch another moment of history.

Navratilova chose well when she picked the left-handed Bryan twin.

In the final, his display of power doubles tennis was on a level seldom seen before. In three of his service games, Bryan had three aces, all of them more than 130 mph. When he served for the match, he began with a 119-mph ace and finished with an 86-mph kicker that had so much spin that even Damm, who won his first Grand Slam title earlier in the day in men's doubles, couldn't touch it.

For her part, Navratilova, who will turn 50 in October, volleyed sharply and set up Bryan nicely at the net all night.

When it was over, and she got to hold up the trophy and split the winners' check of $150,000 with Bryan, she told the crowd that she would take the memory of this night with her for the rest of her life. "Thanks for a great ride," she said.

Navratilova made her tour debut in 1973. She retired from the game from 1995 until 2002, and then came back to more success in doubles, winning her 175th tour doubles title last year. Of her 59 Grand Slam titles, 18 are in singles.

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