Martina Navratilova: ‘I almost killed myself’ after ‘shaking like a leaf’ after US Open match

Next week’s U.S. Open may be over but retired tennis legend Martina Navratilova told the U.S. Open Daily Podcast that she is still feeling the effects of her “anxiety attack” following a 2017 final loss to Shelby Rogers. Navratilova was given a standing ovation by the crowd after the match, which was the tennis great’s 20th final. But later in the day, Navratilova said, she started experiencing an “air of panic.” “And I actually thought to myself, ‘Why am I hitting serves in the first place if this was coming on me?’” she said. “I was just – can’t believe this is happening to me! I’m going to have nine million death threats.”

The 75-year-old Navratilova talked further about that experience and it seems to have made her think a little more about the internet — where she was currently receiving hundreds of mean messages before she reached the studio to talk with the podcast’s host, Julie Colden. Navratilova said she had no idea that taking to Twitter could cause people to make threats of violence toward her. “So the whole thing blew up and it was really disheartening,” she said.

In her weekly episodes, Colden interviews notable figures from the world of sports and pop culture.

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Navratilova, who retired last year, has managed to fight back from the abuse and has been supportive of the young and women working in the sports world. She told a story about taking a pregnancy test one morning after a sleepless night. Navratilova was shocked to learn she was expecting. But rather than letting her shock at the news sideline her, Navratilova found an outlet and engagement for her other concerns. The then 38-year-old Navratilova decided to donate her eggs to help a friend who had a 16-year-old son. Navratilova, who has been married three times, called it “the best thing” she ever did.

That story is part of a moment of meditation for Navratilova. “If you find any joy in your life then you’re a lucky person,” she said. “There’s nothing magical about our bodies. I have gifts.”

The rest of Navratilova’s interview is worth listening to.


How Martina Navratilova uses a big trophy on her wall to fight for equality

‘This club is strong’: 5 Americans to watch at the U.S. Open

Why today’s tennis has been failing women

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