Earlier this month, tennis legend Martina Navratilova introduced that she’d not too long ago been recognized with two types of most cancers — throat and breast.
“This double whammy is severe however nonetheless fixable,” she informed the Ladies’s Tennis Affiliation.
In an announcement on her web site, the 59-time Grand Slam champion gave additional particulars: “I’ve been recognized with stage 1 throat most cancers. The prognosis is sweet and I’ll begin her therapy this month. The most cancers kind is HPV and this specific kind responds very well to therapy.”
She goes on to clarify “I observed an enlarged lymph node in [my] neck throughout the WTA finals in Fort Price [in November]. When it didn’t go down, a biopsy was carried out, the outcomes got here again as Stage 1 throat most cancers.”
Concurrent to the throat-cancer testing, she defined “a suspicious type was present in [my] breast, which was subsequently recognized as most cancers, fully unrelated to the throat most cancers.”
That is Navratilova’s second bout with breast most cancers: Her first was in 2010.
She is nonetheless optimistic about her prognosis: “Each these cancers are of their early levels with nice outcomes.”
Nonetheless, her therapy schedule will stop the 66-year-old longtime Tennis Channel commentator from masking the Australian Open, which began on Sunday. She left open the chance, although, of becoming a member of her Tennis Channel colleagues periodically by way of Zoom.
Double most cancers analysis not unusual
In response to Johns Hopkins College oncology professor Dr. Otis Brawley, sufferers having to deal with two cancers concurrently will not be terribly uncommon. “It isn’t unusual for 2 cancers to be recognized in individuals on the identical time,” he informed CNN. “Some cancers develop very, very slowly. And generally, individuals will go to the physician as a result of they’ve signs for one most cancers, and the physician, being thorough, seems for different issues and finds one thing else.”
Brawley mentioned that the first complication for Navratilova can be coordination between her separate units of oncology groups.
“You get your breast surgeons and your breast radiation oncologist and your breast medical oncologist, and so they deal with the breast most cancers, and you then get the head-neck oncologists, together with the radiation oncologist and the head-neck medical oncologist, and so they deal with the top and neck most cancers,” he mentioned. “Now, these two teams of persons are going to have to speak to one another, and so they’re going to should work to coordinate with one another. However you don’t deal with the affected person otherwise apart from that coordination.”
Happily for Navratilova, not solely is her prognosis encouraging, however she additionally is aware of how one can handle a “crew” — one thing she first began doing greater than 40 years in the past when she reworked how feminine athletes approached coaching and conditioning.
Whereas Navratilova is essentially credited with bringing health and strength-training to feminine sports activities, her journey didn’t start that method.
In 1975, throughout the U.S. Open, she formally defected to America from her native Czech Republic at age 18.
Her immense tennis expertise and athleticism have been all the time obvious. However like so many youngsters earlier than her, as soon as launched to America’s burgeoning fast-food choices, she grew to become enamored.
Such a eating regimen had the predictably deleterious results on her recreation and physique. At one level, her 5-foot, 8-inch body ballooned to almost 170 kilos — which led to famed tennis author and commentator Bud Collins cruelly dubbing her the “Nice Huge Hope.”
By the late Seventies, Navratilova had established herself as one of many world’s prime gamers — however her legendary rivalry with Chris Evert was nonetheless principally one-sided, with the latter capturing 20 of their first 25 head-to-head matchups.
Navratilova was in higher form than she was as a teen however nonetheless had not reached her bodily peak.
From 1978-81, she and Evert traded victories, with neither gaining a decisive higher hand.
Fateful assembly with fellow legend
Following what seemed to be Navratilova’s nadir — a 6-0, 6-0 defeat to Evert at Amelia Island, S.C. in 1981 — she met the girl who would assist set her on her legendary path: Nancy Lieberman, arguably then the world’s prime feminine basketball participant.
Briefly order, Lieberman satisfied Navratilova to get severe about maximizing her bodily presents and aggressive will.
That is when Navratilova and Lieberman started assembling her crew: tennis coaches Renee Richards and later Mike Estep; nutritionist Robert Haas; reflex coach Rick Elstein.
Such an method — which is now de rigueur in skilled tennis — was unheard-of again then.
The modifications in Navratilova’s physique and recreation got here shortly. Throughout one stretch from 1982 to 1984, she beat Evert 13 consecutive instances.
From 1982 to 1986 she dominated girls’s tennis ― successful 12 of her 18 profession Grand Slam singles titles and incomes the WTA Participant of the 12 months honor yearly throughout that stretch.
As Navratilova informed The New York Occasions in 1984 about her famed coaching routine and what it meant for feminine sports activities “they will all do the issues I do, they will go on the market and run on the observe, they will go and carry weights. They’ll go and play basketball, full-court one-on-one, for an hour to get in form, they will eat the fitting meals and follow three or 4 hours a day, they will do all these issues. There may be not something that I try this anyone else can not do.”
In the identical article, Haas defined that Navratilova ”is programmed to get essentially the most out of her physique … [and] needs to be essentially the most conditioned girl on the tour and in all of ladies’s athletics.”
What Navratilova launched to girls’s tennis — and actually all of ladies’s sports activities — have been the plain advantages of strength- and health coaching.
And that not solely was there nothing flawed with being sturdy and muscular — however that being so may truly be helpful within the aggressive area.
Navratilova’s dedication to coaching additionally led to her legendary longevity.
Lengthy earlier than Tom Brady was displaying the world it was potential to stay elite in one’s sport into one’s mid-40s, Navratilova had already accomplished so: She notched her 59th and closing Grand Slam title — the 2003 Wimbledon blended doubles championship — on the tender age of 46.
Because the 2023 tennis season commences, tennis followers will definitely miss Navratilova’s participating character and cogent commentary throughout Tennis Channel broadcasts — however they will little question be united in sending her good ideas for a fast and full DOUBLE restoration.