It’s been said that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game, but that’s certainly not a phrase ever adopted by tennis champion and Season 14 “Dancing with the Stars” competitor Martina Navratilova.
“Whoever said that probably lost,” the former World No. 1 said on Friday’s Access Hollywood Live.
With 18 Grand Slam singles titles under her belt, Martina is a true competitor, but she is realistic about how “DWTS” works.
“We’re the underdogs,” she told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover, referring to her partner, Tony Dovolani. “We’re 20-1 underdogs, but you can’t compete against them, because you can’t beat them. In tennis, you can hit the ball and you can win, but this is a popularity contest — No. 1 and No. 2, you cannot effect on how well they dance. We can only do the best that we can, so I’m ready for Monday.”
Martina and Tony will tackle the fox trot as their first dance and she can’t wait to feel the rush of the studio audience.
“I like to feed off the crowd. I’ve been on the stage and I think tennis training will come in handy because I’ve been under pressure,” she said. “I’ve been on center stage many times. And you have to do it live. You don’t get do overs in tennis.”
Unsure of her mirrorball chances, Martina has a goal or two in mind.
“From what I understand, 8 of the 12 competitors have some dancing experience, so I want to beat 1 of the 8. So I want to beat one of the people who have dancing experience, because I have none,” she said. “Of course everybody wants to win, everybody wants to go all the way, but I think if we just last through the second half of the season, most of all, it’s just the first dance. The foxtrot is next Monday and I’m ready for that.”
And Tony has faith in his partner, who he revealed puts in extra effort.
“She comes in and I know she’s practiced before or right after our rehearsal,” he said. “I know she goes home and practices.”
She also is highly dedicated to their training sessions.
“She is the most coachable person I’ve ever worked with. She’s had a coach all her life, so she understands what it’s like to be a student, she gives her all, she’s so committed,” Tony noted. “I never have to say, ‘Go to the start position.’ She’s already there!”
“Dancing with the Stars” kicks off Monday, March 19 at 8/7c on ABC.