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Martina Navratilova insists she's “not done yet” as she braces herself to battle two cancers.
The multi-Grand Slam winner, 66, made the declaration when thanking fans after it was revealed on Monday (02.01.23) she was had been diagnosed with throat and breast cancer.
She tweeted: “Needless to say my phone and twitter are both blowing up so I will say again – thank you all for your support and I am not done yet.”
Billie Jean King, 79, has led the flood of support for Martina since she confirmed she had cancer, with the tennis icon hailing her for being “as brave as she is strong”.
Martina, who is married to former Russian beauty queen Julia Lemigova, 50, and who won 59 Grand Slam singles and doubles titles in her four-decade career, said she had been hit with a “double whammy” diagnosis of two forms of cancer.
She discovered an enlarged lymph node in her neck in November, with tests saying she had stage one throat cancer.
Another “suspicious form” was then found in her breast unrelated to her throat cancer.
Martina said: “This double whammy is serious but still fixable. I'm hoping for a favourable outcome. It's going to stink for a while but I'll fight with all I have got.”
It comes 13 years after the tennis icon underwent radiation therapy for breast cancer and was given the all-clear after undergoing six weeks of chemotherapy.
A spokeswoman for Martina added both her cancers “are in early stage with great outcomes”, with a statement released on Monday (02.01.23) saying: “Martina Navratilova has been diagnosed with stage one throat cancer. The prognosis is good and Martina will start her treatment this month.
“The cancer type is HPV and this particular type responds really well to treatment. Martina noticed an enlarged lymph node in her neck during the WTA finals in Fort Worth. When it didn't go down, a biopsy was performed, the results came back as stage one throat cancer.
“At the same time as Martina was undergoing the tests for the throat, a suspicious form was found in her breast, which was subsequently diagnosed as cancer, completely unrelated to the throat cancer.
“Both these cancers are in their early stages with great outcomes.”
Martina won't be covering the Australian Open for the Tennis Channel from their studio but hopes to be able to join in from time to time by Zoom.
Former left-hander Martina has become a key part of the BBC's coverage at Wimbledon since her retirement.
She will undergo treatment on her stage one throat cancer caused by the human papillomavirus this month.
Martina lives with Julia in Miami with their two daughters, five Belgian Malinois dogs, turtles and a cat, and in 2012 she said motherhood had changed her so dramatically she had cut down on her travelling to spend more time with her family.
Born in Revnice, Czech Republic, she was one of the first openly gay sports figures, with her record nine Wimbledon singles title wins coming between 1978 and 1990 before she retired in 1994 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000.