Martina Navratilova reveals she is ‘cancer-free’ after throat and breast diagnoses

The 66-year-old, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, had feared she ‘may not see next Christmas’

Martina Navratilova has disclosed she is in remission having been diagnosed with throat and breast cancers.

The 66-year-old, widely recognised as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, had been diagnosed with stage one of the disease in January.

In an interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, to be broadcast on Tuesday, she said: “As far as they know I’m cancer-free.”

Navratilova, the winner of nine Wimbledon singles titles, said she “should be good to go” after more preventive radiation on her breast over a two-week period.

The Czech-American was forced to postpone plans to adopt a child with her wife, Julia Lemigova, when she was diagnosed. She said: “I was in a total panic for three days thinking I may not see next Christmas.

“The bucket list came into my mind of all the things I wanted to do. And this may sound really shallow, but I was like, OK, ‘which kick-ass car do I really want to drive if I live like a year?’”

The 18-time grand slam champion previously underwent treatment for early-stage breast cancer in 2010. She said she visited doctors with an enlarged lymph node in her neck at the WTA finals in Texas.

The 59 Grand Slam titles winner Martina Navratilova opens up on her devastating double cancer diagnosis.

"I was never an underachiever, but this is getting ridiculous."

Watch the global EXCLUSIVE from 8pm Tuesday on TalkTV.@piersmorgan | @Martina | @TalkTV | #PMU

— Piers Morgan Uncensored (@PiersUncensored) March 20, 2023

Navratilova told TalkTV: “I noticed that my left lymph node was enlarged and I thought it was from a shingles vaccine I’d had a week before. But then a couple of weeks on it didn’t go down so I called the doctor.”

Biopsy results indicated cancer but the tennis pundit had to wait four days to find out where it originated in her body.

Navratilova opened up on how she was left “very up and down” during the illness due to undergoing radiation treatment every day for three weeks and three weekly rounds of chemotherapy, which she stated was “definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done”.

“That was the hard part because the first week was both chemo and radiation at the same time,” she said. “When you start feeling lousy you’re not sure if it’s from the chemo or the proton.

“I didn’t really feel the proton until week three but then you get a sore mouth and your throat starts closing.

“Everything’s swollen and very uncomfortable, and the proton makes your saliva weird. You don’t really taste things the right way. Chemo does the same thing to your throat but then it makes it dry.

“So, you’re just hit from all ends and I don’t think the doctors do a very good job of telling you how the shit is going to hit the fan.”

During a career that spanned from 1973 to 2006, with a hiatus between 1996 and 2000, Navratilova became the most successful female player in the Open era.

Her 59 grand slam titles, including 18 singles titles and 41 doubles and mixed doubles trophies, remain a record, as do her nine Wimbledon singles championships. In all she won 167 singles and 177 doubles titles.


Nadeem Badshah

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Martina Navratilova says breast cancer 'my personal 9/11'

Nine-time Wimbledon champ Martina Navratilova to undergo radiation treatment

Karen McVeigh

07, Apr, 2010 @5:59 PM

Article image
Martina Navratilova diagnosed with early-stage throat and breast cancers
Martina Navratilova says she will ‘fight with all I have got’ after being diagnosed with throat and breast cancers

John Ashdown

02, Jan, 2023 @2:52 PM

Article image
Martina Navratilova | Top 100 women
One of the all-time greats of women's tennis and gay-rights campaigner

Homa Khaleeli

08, Mar, 2011 @12:05 AM

Interview: Martina Navratilova

November 17: The 47-year-old tennis legend will become the oldest player in Federation Cup history this week.

Donald McRae

17, Nov, 2003 @2:19 AM

Article image
Martina Navratilova criticised over 'cheating' trans women comments
Former tennis player says trans athletes competing in women’s tournaments is ‘insane’

Frances Perraudin

17, Feb, 2019 @5:12 PM

Article image
Martina Navratilova battles the test of time
Interview: Martina Navratilova spoke to Anna Kessel about of her love for dogs, duck and Rafa Nadal's backside

Anna Kessel

03, Jul, 2010 @11:00 PM

Article image
Martina Navratilova: 'I want to save lives'

Martina Navratilova's breast cancer revelation is the latest in a long line of very public battles. She tells Julie Bindel why she is speaking out

Julie Bindel

15, Apr, 2010 @7:00 PM

Article image
Wimbledon 2012: Martina Navratilova tips Kvitova and Sharapova
Martina Navratilova said Maria Sharapova has improved since last year and will pose a major challenge to Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova

Simon Cambers

24, Jun, 2012 @2:15 PM

Article image
LGBT group drops Martina Navratilova over transgender comments
Martina Navratilova has been removed as an ambassador by Athlete Ally, an organisation that supports LGBT athletes, following her comments on transgender inclusion

Guardian sport

20, Feb, 2019 @1:02 PM

Article image
Martina Navratilova: female tennis players could boycott Indian Wells
Martina Navratilova has hit back at comments made by the chief executive of Indian Wells tournament that women are ‘riding on the coattails’ of the men’s game

James Riach

21, Mar, 2016 @11:42 PM