Lucy Cavendish College has appointed former professional tennis player Martina Navratilova as an honorary fellow of the college. The college praised Navratilova’s “excellence in all fields – including sport”, and said that her appointment was a sign of the college’s “commitment to helping women achieve their goals, regardless of social background and in some cases overcoming significant challenges.”
Before her induction ceremony on 12 May, Navratilova was taken rowing and then given a tour of the college. She finished her day with the college’s annual Sports Formal Hall. Jackie Ashley, President of the College commented: “It was a pleasure to meet Martina Navratilova and welcome her as an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College. Her presence was inspiring to both students and Fellows. As a woman with a formidable career, both on and off the court, she gave us valuable insight into her life and what it takes to succeed.” Navratilova said that “It really is an honour to become part of such a prestigious College and to spend time amongst such learned women.”
Martina Navratilova was born in Prague but fled from Czechoslovakia in 1975 and became a US citizen six years later. She made her debut on the professional tennis tour in 1973 and won her first professional singles title at Orlando, Florida, a year later. Over the course of a career spanning four decades she racked up 167 singles titles and 177 doubles titles, including a total of 59 Grand Slam titles, and set an array of tennis records, including the most titles won and the best season win-loss ratio (her 1983 season) in the open era. She won her last major title, the US Open for mixed doubles, in 2006.
Outside her tennis career, Navratilova has championed various causes, including LGBT rights and animal welfare. In March, she publicly criticised comments made by the Chief Executive of the Indian Wells tournament in which he dismissed women’s tennis as “riding on the coattails” of the men’s game, calling them “prejudiced and old-fashioned” and saying that “We have made it this far on our own, without help from male players, and will continue to do so.” She works as a tennis commentator for BT Sport and was recently tipped as a potential coach for Andy Murray.