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At 46, tennis great Navratilova still feels young


June 30, 2003

PRAGUE - Tennis legend Martina Navratilova insists she is in better shape than most 46-year-olds and may compete for a 31st season next year.

Navratilova, currently in England vying for the title of oldest Wimbledon tournament winner in history, made those comments during an interview published Monday by her hometown newspaper in Prague.

"I feel young," the nine-time Wimbledon singles champion told the paper, Mlada fronta Dnes. "Definitely I don't feel 46, especially compared to most people the same age."

"When playing basketball I don't bounce off the boards like I used to," she said. "But I still jump better than most."

A tennis pro since 1973, Navratilova is competing this week at Wimbledon with 18-year-old doubles partner Svetlana Kuznetsova and mixed-doubles partner Leandra Paes. She called them "splendid teammates."

Navratilova is a Prague-born Czech who immigrated to the United States in 1975 and retired from the singles circuit in 1994 after being named the world's top tennis player seven times.

Asked how long she wants to compete professionally, Navratilova did not rule out another year on the courts.

"I have no plans for next season ... but we will see," she said.

"I have an excellent trainer," she said. "I do something every day: half an hour, sometimes 45 minutes. It helps, and at my age it's far more important than working out just three hours on Saturday."

- Sapa-AFP