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One very simple note about Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe

Matt Zemek



Susan Mullane - USA TODAY Sports

This piece is not an argumentative piece. It does not seek to convince you of anything or change your mind. It merely aims to provide a piece of information about two tennis players from an older era. These two players are constantly in the public eye because they are constantly on a television screen or in a commentator booth at a major tennis tournament. Anyone who follows tennis knows who these people are.

Yet, do we know — with clarity and completeness — exactly what these two people accomplished as tennis players when they played on the main tour?

This is not a long or exhaustive analysis, merely a presentation of a simple fact. Sometimes, the simplest facts can be the most profound. Absorbing them can be enriching.

The two players I am spotlighting today: Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe. Why am I doing this? Because Roger Federer winning 100 singles titles offered a reminder that Martina Navratilova has won more singles tournaments in the Open Era than any other human being: 167. That is obviously very impressive.

Yet, here is that very simple fact I wish to share about Navratilova: She won more doubles titles (177) than singles).

The same fact applies to McEnroe, who won 77 singles titles in his very successful and memorable career. Johnny Mac won 78 doubles titles.

A bonus fact:

Both Martina and Johnny Mac won more major doubles titles than singles titles as well: 31 women’s doubles and 41 combined (with 10 mixed) for Martina compared to her 18 singles majors; 9 men’s doubles and 10 combined (with 1 mixed) for McEnroe compared to his 7 singles majors.

Did the two players play in a different era, on different Wimbledon grass, in different constraints relative to the physicality of tennis and the technology of racquets and strings? Yes. You can do whatever you want with those contextual details.

I just thought you would like to know that Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe won more doubles titles than singles — overall and at the majors.

Enjoy your day. Discuss.

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

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