The Times is pleased to have tennis legend Martina Navratilova guest-blogging for us while she competes on “Dancing With the Stars.” Today, Navratilova answers a few questions from Karen Chaderjian and gives some insight into the competition. Here are Navratilova’s thoughts, which she offered via email.
Q: You had a very indefatigable response immediately after the disappointment Monday night, saying, “You just pick yourself up and dust yourself off.” What would you compare this experience to?
This show is really such a different competition than anything I’ve ever faced in my entire career and challenging in a completely new way. You really can’t compare it to anything and it’s a one-of-a-kind experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It allowed me to face down one of my biggest fears, and even though I didn’t get the votes this week, I still feel like I really accomplished something. And not just putting on high heels and getting dressed up. I really felt like I learned to dance and I can walk away with my head held high knowing that I worked my tail off :) I gave it my all and if I’ve inspired even one person, then it was all worth it.
Q: I noticed that Pam Shriver and Jimmy Connors were there supporting you for the second show, and Chris Evert was there for the first show. What was their response? And what has been the reaction beyond the tennis world?I’ve had amazing support from my friends, family and fans throughout this whole experience. I’m not even slightly exaggerating when I say this was completely out of my comfort zone, and to have Chrissie, Jimmy and Pam take the time out of their busy schedules to come out to L.A. to support me in person just means the world to me. And the positive responses I’ve received on Twitter, Facebook, via email, etc., really helped to push me to practice that much harder. I have so much respect for my fellow competitors and the pro dancers -- dancing is such a challenging sport but I had fun and hopefully America got to see a different side of me :)
Q: That toe injury looked so painful, and I remember that even going into the show you were concerned about the toe. How did it affect you during the dance, and how is it now?
Yeah that was a tough rehearsal -- I injured my toe years ago and it has always given me problems but once I got the technique on the flip, it was fine and really wasn’t an issue. It didn’t affect my performance on Monday -- I think my nerves just got the best of me and I just blanked for a second. I think I recovered pretty well too, it’s just this season’s cast is sooooo talented and the competition was fierce! At least now I can sit back and enjoy watching the remaining shows and cheering my friends on. You haven’t seen the last of my dance moves though! I’ll be back for the finale.
Q: There were reports that Tony tried to help shield you after the disappointment of Monday night’s performance. Would you give us a little insight into Monday night’s post-performance and the process of working with Tony?Tony is a rock and has guided me through this whole experience. I can’t say enough about him but I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank him for all of his patience, encouragement and guidance. It was so fun to see him work. :)
What the viewers at home don’t get to see is that immediately after the show is over, we have to go and do press interviews with 20-30 reporters that are waiting for us backstage, one at a time. There’s not really any down time to process things and I was really disappointed since we’d done the routine a million times better in all of our rehearsals. I’m my own worst critic so it was hard repeating myself over and over like that and Tony finally decided we’d done enough for the night.
Q: Of course, this is not even allowing you to take a deep breath, but what’s next for you?Some much needed rest and relaxation!!! Dance rehearsal is no walk in the park and I think I’ve earned a little breather, at least for next week. But folks can still follow me online on Twitter (@martina) and on AARP’s website where i’ll continue on as AARP’s fitness ambassador and where I’ve been sharing details on my experience on “Dancing With the Stars.”