Originally created 12/29/04

Navratilova to play doubles in Australia



GOLD COAST, Australia - Martina Navratilova arrived in Australia on Tuesday to begin her 30th season of professional tennis at 48.

Navratilova, who delayed plans to retire after competing at her first Olympics this summer, will play doubles in 2005 with Daniela Hantuchova, a 21-year-old Slovakian.

Navratilova, winner of 58 Grand Slam titles, will compete in next week's Gold Coast hardcourt tournament and team with France's Nathalie Dechy, winner of the 2003 Gold Coast singles title.

"She said last year would be her last year, but she's still playing because she loves tennis and she feels like she has a chance of winning," Gold Coast tournament director Liz Smylie said Tuesday.

Hantuchova is playing the Hopman Cup in Perth, but will join Navratilova for the Sydney International beginning Jan. 10 and the Australian Open beginning Jan. 17. Navratilova will play doubles and mixed doubles - with India's Leander Paes - at the Australian Open.

In 2003, Navratilova and Paes won the Australian Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles titles. It was Navratilova's 20th Wimbledon title, tying the record set by Billie Jean King. This year she won one title, with Lisa Raymond in Vienna, Austria.



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