Martina Navratilova proposed to her girlfriend Julia Lemigova on the big screen of Arthur Ashe Stadium between the U.S. Open men’s semifinals in the Tennis Channel suite Saturday, drawing a loud cheer from the crowd.
“I was very nervous,” Navratilova said later. “It came off. She said yes. 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.”
Navratilova said somebody suggested she propose during a changeover in the first match between Kei Nishikori and Novak Djokovic, but she didn’t want to disturb the players in any way. The only problem was that Navratilova was later scheduled to play a “Champions” doubles match with Jana Novotna against Tracy Austin and Gigi Fernandez. She tried unsuccessfully to get the start postponed without telling anybody why, so she was fretting that the Nishikori-Djokovic match would go five sets. Fortunately, it ended in four.
Navratilova said she and Lemigova would prefer to get married in Florida, where they live. A federal judge ruled last month that the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, but Florida officials are appealing and same-sex marriage is still on hold.
CONGRATS MARTINA and JULIA! GAME, SET, and MATCH!