Czechoslovakia was going through a tough time in the 1970s, and the 18-year-old Navratilova decided against returning.
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The two would meet 80 times in total (not including games that ended in walkovers).
61 of those came in finals, 14 of which were grand slam finals.
Navratil on as her first tennis coach, although in his position as stepfather I doubt there was much of an application process. Her maternal grandmother, Agnes Semanska, once held the number two position in the Czechoslovak national rankings.
Martina Navratilova would go on to eclipse the achievements of her grandmother, in what could be the largest understatement in this entire book.
If it was a major title Martina Navratilova won it, in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
To this day, she is one of only three women to achieve such a feat.
Martina returned to the States in 1975 to take part in the US Open, seeded number three for the event.
It would be the most important tournament of her young life to date.
Is Martina Navratilova the greatest female tennis player of all time?
This is a difficult question to answer in all sports due to the differences in competition over time, but any discussion as to who takes that mantle must include her.
The history of sport is littered with the important, not just in athletic terms but also in the ways the individuals and achievements shaped society around them.