1983 : Rackets for all

Aug 7, 2023, 4:50:39 PM

Martina Navratilova introduces children to tennis through racket donations

Martina Navratilova has always been an altruist. She is a PETA member as well as a vegetarian and a supporter of the LGBT –lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender– rights. She has been openly lesbian since 1981. In 1983, she launched the Martina Navratilova Youth Foundation (MNYF) to provide poor children with rackets, balls, and  tennis courts. Navratilova, a 59 Grand Slam title holder (including 9  Wimbledon titles), has been travelling the countr y to “give children the opportunity to be themselves, take part in competitions, play, socialise, get an education in a safe space they don’t have access to for some reason.” Her foundation has also supported Greenpeace and Planned Parenthood, an association which provides health care in the USA and helps children victims of the war in Ukraine. Thanks to MNYF, Martina Navratilova has received many awards, like the National Equality Award given by Human Rights Campaign –the main US LGBT-right support group– in 2000. In 2010, she even attempted a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro a few weeks after the end of the chemotherapy that cured her breast cancer. The aim was to raise funds for the Laureus foundation and its ‘Sport for Good’ programme. But she could not make it to the top as she developed high altitude pulmonary oedema. Since then, she has visited Mathare –a collection of slums in Nairobi– and has even sewn masks in Fort Lauderdale during the Covid crisis.

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