Tennis champion Martina Navratilova has proposed to her long-term partner during a game at the US Open.

The retired Czech-American tennis star, who took home 18 grand slam singles titles and 41 doubles titles across her career, popped the question to partner Julia Lemigova yesterday.



The pair’s proposal was shown on a big screen in the stadium, at the end of Kei Nishikori’s semi-final match with Novak Djokovic.

She told the crowd: “I have been waiting for the right time to ask Julia to marry me.

“I thought this was the right place and the right time to pop the question and thankfully I got a ‘yes’.”

She said later: “I was very nervous… it came off. She said yes.

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“It was kind of an out-of-body experience. You’ve seen people propose at sporting events before, in movies, in real life.

“Here it was happening to me. It was like I was watching myself do it.”

Same-sex marriage is not recognised in Navratilova’s native Czech Republic, but the pair plan to marry in their home state of Florida.

A constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is still in place in Florida, but was provisionally struck down by a federal judge last month.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is in the process of appealing the ruling, but it is likely the US Supreme Court will rule on a marriage ban case by next year.

Yesterday, Navratilova’s friend and tennis rival Billie Jean King called on straight NFL players to voice their support for gay rights.




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