Navratilova and Seles to play in NZ

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles will play two exhibition matches in February, it was announced today. It will be the first time either of the former world No. 1’s have been to New Zealand to play tennis, with the first match in Auckland on February 1, followed by a rematch on February 3 in Christchurch.

Today’s joint statement from Auckland Tennis and Canterbury Tennis follows the top-class men’s field assembled for the Heineken Open in January.

Navratilova is recognised as one of the world’s most phenomenal athletes and has won 58 grand slam titles in a career that has spanned over 30 years.

She has also won 167 singles titles on the WTA Tour, which is the most won by any man or woman in the history of tennis, and 173 doubles titles. She is one of few players to have been ranked Number 1 in both singles and doubles concurrently.

Navratilova, 48, played in the women’s doubles at the Athens Olympics and is still playing mixed doubles on the professional circuit.

In 1990 a 16-year-old Seles won her first grand slam singles title after beating Navratilova – making her the youngest French Open champion to date.

In the next two years Seles won eight out of nine grand slams she played, but in 1993 Seles was stabbed in the back by Guenter Parche during her quarterfinal match in Hamburg, subsequently missing more than two years on the WTA Tour.

She eventually carried on to win 53 career titles and spent 178 weeks as world No 1.