July 29, 1985 12:00 PM

by Martina Navratilova with George Vecsey

At the seasoned age of 28, Martina Navratilova, the world’s No. 1 woman tennis player and one of its richest athletes (she earned more than $2 million in 1984 alone), rates pretty well as far as jock-authors go too. That’s thanks in large part, one assumes, to Vecsey, a New York Times sports columnist and author of Coal Miner’s Daughter with Loretta Lynn. Navratilova’s book includes descriptions of her often sad childhood in Czechoslovakia. Then it moves to more familiar terrain—her defection at age 18, her binges at McDonald’s and at Gucci, her inability to make her family feel at home in the U.S. Though it seems Navratilova can remember nearly every point she ever played, she spares us the details of all but her most important matches—the highlight apparently being her first U.S. Open win in 1983. Admittedly bisexual (“I’m not a one-sex person”), she clearly feels secure enough professionally and personally to discuss her well-publicized liaison with lesbian novelist Rita Mae Brown (she “liberated my intellect”). And she also discusses her friendships with golfer Sandra Haynie, basketball player Nancy Lieberman and, currently, Texas housewife Judy Nelson. Now near the height of her career, Navratilova vows a little piously to commit herself to eradicating world hunger and aiding the environment when she retires. More revealing about the mercurial Navratilova may be her idols: Garbo for her beauty and sense of privacy, Katharine Hepburn for her strength and calmness. (Knopf, $16.95)

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