Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Navratilova to Play Doubles in Amelia; Tennis Legend, Who Has Won Three Amelia Singles Championships, Has Never Won the Doubles Crown

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Navratilova to Play Doubles in Amelia; Tennis Legend, Who Has Won Three Amelia Singles Championships, Has Never Won the Doubles Crown

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID JOHNSON, The Times-Union

After creating a stir by playing singles at the Bausch & Lomb Championships last year, once-dominant tennis legend Martina Navratilova will join the doubles field this year.

In addition to Navratilova, tournament officials announced the rest of the main draw Wednesday afternoon, including the commitment of No. 11-ranked Vera Zvonareva.

But the focus will be on Navratilova, who will be making her 10th appearance at the event at Amelia Island.

"She brings fans out to watch doubles," tournament director John Arrix said. "The other side of it with Martina is that it is great to see one of the best players to have ever played the sport on the court."

Serena and Venus Williams will play in the tournament during the same year for the first time in tournament history.

Venus defeated Serena in straight sets on Tuesday night at Key Biscayne in their first meeting since the Wimbledon final in July 2003.

World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport will defend her Amelia Island title at the tournament, which begins Monday and runs through Sunday, April 10. The draw includes four of the top six and eight of the top 12 players on the WTA Tour.

"If you look at the draws over the course of the year, excluding Grand Slams, this will be one of the finer draws of the year," Arrix said.

Navratilova's wild-card entry into Amelia Island in 2004 was her first WTA match in the United States in nearly a decade.

She lost to lucky loser qualifier Milagros Sequera in three sets in the first round and concluded her brief five-event return at Wimbledon with a first-round victory before falling in the second round.

Navratilova won 167 career singles titles, more any other tennis player -- man or woman.

She also has 174 doubles titles, including seven in 2003 and one in '04. Navratilova won the inaugural Bausch & Lomb title in 1980, her first of three wins at Amelia Island. She has never won the Bausch & Lomb doubles title.

Zvonareva successfully defended her singles title at Memphis, Tenn., her third tour win.

In 2004, she beat Maria Sharapova in the Memphis semifinals on the way to the title and appeared in the semifinals at five other events. She advanced to the quarterfinals at Amelia Island last year.

david.johnson@jacksonville. …

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