New York (dpa) – For old tennis world number one Martina Navratilova, the title at the US Open this year is no less important despite the lack of countless top stars.
“I wouldn’t distinguish between the winners, for me there is no asterisk next to the name,” said the BBC’s 18-time Grand Slam tournament winner.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal (Spain) and Roger Federer (Switzerland) are missing from the event that starts in New York on Monday. In the women’s top ten, six players from the top ten will not start due to the coronavirus pandemic, including last year’s winner Bianca Andreescu (Canada), world number one Ashleigh Barty (Australia) and number two Simona Halep (Romania).
It’s a bit easier for the eventual tournament winners, of course, as some big names are missing, Navratilova admitted on BBC radio. “But even in 1973 at Wimbledon, no asterisk was placed next to the name when many didn’t play because of a boycott, or at the Australian Open when many didn’t go,” said the 63-year-old.
The native Czech also referred to the Wimbledon victory of Frenchman Marion Bartoli in 2013 with an overall victory over Sabine Lisicki. “We don’t treat that any differently, just because she didn’t play against an opponent who was better than 17th. You can have all the top players in the tournament and win it without playing against any of them,” said Navratilova.