Thursday, July 29, 2010

CNN Follows Martina Navratilova Through Her Greatest Challenge

CNN Press Release - Network gets rare access to tennis legend's fight against cancer in 'Martina: My Toughest Opponent'

It has been almost six months since tennis legend Martina Navratilova was told she tested positive for breast cancer. On a day she considers her "personal 9-11", the 53-year-old athlete says she "was in denial for about two seconds and cried for a minute" before deciding to aggressively take on what she knew would become her greatest challenge.

In 'Martina: My Toughest Opponent' CNN chronicles Martina's journey of balancing treatments, tennis, and everything in between. Narrated by CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, this half-hour special gives viewers an intimate look at Martina's personal battle with breast cancer.

"She didn't miss a beat. That's very Martina. She doesn't sit around wondering or fidgeting," says former professional tennis player and founder of the Women's Sports Foundation Billie Jean King. "She just gets into action. She's a woman of action. You know, the way she played was that way and that's how she is in real life."

When asked where she finds strength, Martina says: "I think anybody that survives the communist system, they're pretty tough! And then being gay on top of that, that wasn't helpful. As they say, that which does not kill you makes you stronger, so I am pretty strong."

Following a lumpectomy in March, Czech-born Martina underwent more than two dozen radiation treatments during a six-week period, which ended just days before she secured yet another Wimbledon title. CNN cameras followed her throughout this time, capturing not only her trips to the Paris-based treatment center, but also the time she spent at Roland Garros and the All England Club playing doubles matches with Jana Novotna and working as a commentator for The Tennis Channel.

When you're playing with Martina it's one thing, but when you're playing with Martina and you know everything she is going through, it's very emotional," says Novotna.

Many tennis greats – past and present – were interviewed for both the on-air and online components of this special including Novotna; Billie Jean King; Boris Becker; Jimmy Connors; Steffi Graf; Pam Shriver; Tim Henman; Kim Clijsters; Lindsay Davenport; Bob Bryan; Caroline Wozniacki; Bud Collins; Francesca Schiavone; and Martina Hingis.

"It is very rare to be given such extraordinary access to someone of Martina's stature," says Katherine Green, senior vice president of CNN International. "This candid program shows how Martina never lets the cancer sideline her. It is a story that is beyond inspiring."


Saturday, 7 August at 1230; Sunday, 8 August at 0700, 1430, 2200; Tuesday, 10 August at 0830, 1230


Saturday, 7 August at 1830; Sunday, 8 August at 1300, 2030; Tuesday, 10 August at 1430, 1830

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