Tennis champ Martina Navratilova, 53, went in for a routine mammogram and subsequent biopsy a little over a month ago and was diagnosed with breast cancer.

martina navratilova

"Throughout my decades-long tennis career, I have faced some really tough opponents across the net; Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, and even the Williams sisters in doubles. What I never anticipated was that my toughest opponent would be off the court: cancer," the tennis star told the AARP.

When Martina received the devastating news, she was alone in her house. "I was shocked, overwhelmed, and devastated. I am 53 years old, a lifelong athlete, strong, healthy, and had eaten nutritiously my entire life. These positive aspects of my lifestyle only fueled the "Why me?" questions those first few days."

Fortunately, the cancer was discovered in its early stages and had not spread to her lymph nodes. Navratilova had a successful lumpectomy several weeks ago and her doctor is very optimistic about her prognosis.

The tennis legend urges women to be diligent about getting frequent checkups. "We get busy and life gets in the way... but our health should be a priority. We need to be a champion of our own health and fitness," said Navratilova. She went almost four years between mammograms.

Martina will begin six weeks of radiation in May to complete her treatment.

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