Airing exclusively on Tennis Channel, the show is the latest in the network’s line of original documentaries chronicling the careers of some of history’s greatest tennis players. Unlike the three previous Signature Series episodes — featuring Andre Agassi, Rene LaCoste and Pete Sampras — Martina is both subject narrator of the film.
As you would expect, Signature Series: Martina Navratilova covers the pro’s on-court victories that include 167 career tennis titles.
But Martina also talks about her personal life, including her defection to the U.S. at age 18 and her struggle to win over American fans. She also talks at length about her friendship and rivalry with Chris Evert.
I’m glad to see that a segment is devoted to Martina’s coming out process in 1981 and the reactions of her family and friends. As the first major sports figure to come out while she was still at the top of her game, Martina paid a dear price for her openness; it cost her millions of dollars in potential endorsements.
She also discusses her relationship with Nancy Lieberman, who was both personal trainer and lover. I’m interested to hear what she has to say about that time. Without question, Lieberman’s training took Martina’s game to a whole new level. But keeping the truth about their romantic relationship hidden caused Martina much personal pain.
(OK, that’s not Nancy, but don’t Martina and
Signature Series: Martina Navratilova premiers June 8 and will air all month. Check the Tennis Channel site for exact times.