LONDON (AP) — Martina Navratilova returned to TV work at Tennis Channel for its coverage of the Miami Open on Tuesday, less than three months after saying she had throat cancer and breast cancer.
“It’s great to be back. … Thrilled to be here,” said the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. “So happy to be working. How many people can say that?”
The 66-year-old Navratilova said her sense of taste disappeared during the treatment for cancer and she lost 15 pounds. She did not appear on television during the Australian Open in January or the BNP Paribas Open this month.
“It puts you face-to-face with your mortality, No. 1, because at the beginning, I wasn’t sure if it was treatable, so that was hard,” she said, wiping away tears. “But once I got into the program, it was a little easier emotionally, but more difficult physically. … But I’m still standing.”
In an interview with TalkTV’s Piers Morgan shown later Tuesday, Navratilova said she has been told by doctors that, “as far as they know, I’m cancer-free,” and she should be “good to go” after some additional radiation treatment.
“I definitely won’t be missing any of my checkups. I will be very, very diligent about it. But the prognosis is excellent,” Navratilova said. “But you never know. Just, like, you never know.”
She also told Morgan that when she was diagnosed, “I was in a total panic for three days, thinking I may not see next Christmas” and came up with a bucket list of things she wanted to do.
She noticed an enlarged lymph node in her neck while attending the season-ending WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, in November, and a biopsy showed early stage throat cancer. While Navratilova was undergoing tests on her throat, she said, the unrelated, early stage breast cancer was discovered.
Navratilova was diagnosed with a noninvasive form of breast cancer in 2010 and had a lumpectomy.
She won 59 Grand Slam titles overall, including 31 in women’s doubles and 10 in mixed doubles. The last was a mixed doubles championship with Bob Bryan at the 2006 U.S. Open, a month shy of her 50th birthday.
Navratilova originally retired in 1994, after a record 167 singles titles and 331 weeks at No. 1 in the WTA rankings. She returned to the tour to play doubles in 2000 and occasionally competed in singles, too.
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