A queen holds court

A queen holds court
Junior tennis players taking a selfie with tennis legend Martina Navratilova (centre).

SINGAPORE - Martina Navratilova got her wish when she lugged two kilogrammes of mangosteen back to her hotel room on Thursday.

Sitting down with Singapore's tennis juniors and current and past players at the Singapore Sports Institute yesterday, the 57-year-old revealed she cannot get enough of the fruit.

"They're my favourite fruit, but you can't get them everywhere," said the legend.

"I discovered them about 20 years ago and every time I come to South-east Asia, I ask people to bring me mangosteens.

"At the hotel, they brought me just two, so I went out and bought some more."

Navratilova, one of the most dominant athletes in history across any sport, yearns to see the sport she ruled from the 1970s to the '80s embrace finesse once more.

When asked if there was anything about modern tennis that she did not fancy, she said: "It's not a dislike, it's just the way the game is now, both the men and women.

"They're hitting the ball harder and there's less variety. You don't see players going to the net and setting up the shots and the rallies the way we had to.

"It was more like a chess game when I was playing.

"Nowadays, power talks. The players are stronger and faster. But the variety is missing. Everybody can put pace on the ball, very few can take pace off it. The finesse is what I miss."

The 18-time singles Grand Slam winner named her favourites for the US Open, which will begin in New York on Aug 25.

Dark Horse

"(Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga played great in (the Rogers Cup in) Toronto, but it's hard to pick him as a Grand Slam winner because he's never done it before, but he's certainly a dark horse," she said.

"Roger Federer is playing well too, but it's hard to go against Novak Djokovic.

"He's just so fast, so solid and he'll be very motivated to do well there. He'll be focused too, particularly after winning Wimbledon this summer.

"On the women's side, it'd be a good way for Serena (Williams) to salvage what has been a very disappointing year for her.

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