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Tennis News Wire -
The perfectionist in Martina Navratilova makes the 55 year old’s inclusion in the new roster for the upcoming season of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars on American television intriguing.
After subjecting herself to life in the Australian jungle for the British reality television program ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here’ and then training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for charity, Navratilova is looking forward to throwing herself into the training and learning new skills.
Previously tennis stars like Monica Seles, Martina Hingis and Todd Woodbridge have tried their luck on the various American, British and Australian versions of the popular dance show. The new season will premiere on ABC March 19.
Navratilova is by far the most senior in terms of age and is an Ambassador for AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people aged 50 and over, that is dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all through the ageing process. She explained: “Whether you're 55 or 85, I hope to demonstrate that it's never too late to learn something new or step outside of your comfort zone.
"Going from the tennis court to the dance floor is going to be tough but I want to show my generation that staying active and challenging yourself can provide opportunities to learn new things and have fun."
The winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women's doubles titles (an all-time record), and ten Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, has other reasons for taking on the challenge.
“I like to conquer my phobia,” she said. “I was afraid of heights. I got a pilot's license. My biggest fear was to drown, so I got a SCUBA-diving license. I get embarrassed dancing by myself, so I figured why not do it in front of millions of people?
“Staying focused on something physical for such a long time is easy for us and it does involve your body. And I think if you excel in one sport, it's easy to pick up the movements in another.”
Martina, who will be paired with professional Tony Dovolani, and initial training told her the ballroom was a little more tricky than her normal existence on the tennis court. “Tennis is all closed up,” she said. “This is all open and my hands are totally doing the wrong thing. It's a learning experience.”
Navratilova’s rivals in the new series include Motown pop legend Gladys Knight, Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, Family Matters actor Jaleel White and The View host Sherri Shepherd.