Tennis Great Navratilova Attacks U.S. Values

June 26, 2002

BERLIN (Reuters) - U.S. tennis great Martina Navratilova criticized her adopted homeland in a German newspaper on Wednesday, saying money is the only thing that matters there.

Navratilova, a Czech-born American who won 18 grand slam singles titles when she dominated women's tennis in the late 1970s and 1980s, also wrote in an article for Die Zeit weekly that she believed free speech was being suppressed in the United States.

"The most absurd part of my escape from the unjust system is that I have exchanged one system that suppresses free opinion for another," said Navratilova, 45, who fled Czechoslovakia at the age of 18 to go to the United States.

The nine-time women's Wimbledon champion, who still plays in some doubles tournaments and last week played in a singles tournament at the Eastbourne International Championships in England, singled out President Bush's Republican Party for unusually harsh criticism.

"The Republicans in the United States manipulate public opinion and sweep any controversial issues under the table," Navratilova said.

"It's depressing. Decisions in America are based solely on the question of 'how much money will come out of it' and not on the questions of how much health, morals or the environment suffer as a result."

Navratilova, who is openly homosexual, said she fights actively for gay rights.


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