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Mixed doubles gives Navratilova 20th title

Martina Navratilova tied one Wimbledon record Sunday and set another.

Navratilova won her 20th title, teaming with Leander Paes to defeat Andy Ram and Anastassia Rodionova 6-3, 6-3. She is tied with Billie Jean King for the most Wimbledon titles.

Navratilova, 46, also became the oldest Wimbledon champion, supplanting Margaret duPont, who was 44 in 1962 when she won mixed doubles.

"They're all special, but the last one was eight years ago," Navratilova said. "And honestly, I never thought I'd play here again."

Navratilova nearly had the winning shot. But Rodionova sprawled and got the ball across the net, and Paes smashed the winner. He immediately bowed several times to Navratilova, who tipped her head back in relief.

Neither Ram nor Rodionova was born when Navratilova won the first of her nine singles titles in 1978. Paes, who was born a week before Navratilova's Wimbledon debut in 1973, drew laughs when he mentioned Navratilova's age.

"For this little kid from India, it was a dream to be on Centre Court," Paes said. "When I was 7 or 8 years old, I watched Martina play, and she really inspired me to be out here."

To reach the final, Navratilova and Paes played a semifinal earlier Sunday, defeating Leos Friedl and Liezel Huber 7-5, 6-4.

Navratilova is second in major titles with 58. The record is 62, held by Margaret Smith Court.

WOMEN'S DOUBLES: Kim Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama beat Paola Suarez and Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-4, 6-4 in the final. The pair won the French Open last month, also beating Suarez and Ruano Pascual in the final.

OLYMPIC GRASS: International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge watched the men's final from the Royal Box and said Wimbledon would add "prestige to the Games" if it became an Olympic venue. It could happen.

London is bidding for the 2012 Olympics and is among the early favorites. Bid organizers have suggested Wimbledon might be the site for tennis.

Despite Rogge's optimism, there might be problems.

Wimbledon is across town from east London, where the main venues would be built. That's 15 miles through some of the world's most congested streets.

Also, the All England Club is private, and Wimbledon officials have suggested a large price tag for using the facilities.

FEDERATION CUP: With a hurt Venus Williams unlikely to play later this month, King, the U.S. captain, must decide who to add to a team that includes Monica Seles, Meghann Shaughnessy and Lisa Raymond.

U.S. Tennis Association chief Arlen Kantarian said King will talk to players who turned down a spot, including Jennifer Capriati and Chanda Rubin. He also mentioned Lindsay Davenport, but Davenport has said it's unlikely she will participate after a disagreement with King over Davenport's request to join the team a day late.

Kantarian said King might consider bending some of her rules.

"We have a situation now," Kantarian said. "And her rules are completely up to her. But I think she's going to talk to the team, and if the team considers making any exceptions appropriate, she'll consider that."

LOOKING AHEAD: British bookmakers Ladbrokes has Roger Federer at 5-2 to win the title again next year. Andy Roddick is 4-1 and Lleyton Hewitt 6-1. It also has seven-time champion Pete Sampras, who is retired, at 16-1.



Navratilova's Grand Slam titles:

Singles (18)

+ Australian Open _ 1981, 1983, 1985

+ French Open _ 1982, 1984

+ Wimbledon _ 1978-79, 1982-87, 1990

+ U.S. Open _ 1983-84, 1986-87

Women's doubles (31)

+ Australian _ 1980 (with Betsy Nagelsen); 1982-85, 1987-89 (with Pam Shriver)

+ French Open _ 1975 (with Chris Evert); 1982 (with Anne Smith); 1984-85, 1987-88 (with Shriver); 1986 (with Andrea Temesvari)

+ Wimbledon _ 1976 (with Evert); 1979 (with Billie Jean King); 1981-84, 1986 (with Shriver)

+ U.S. Open _ 1977 (with Betty Stove); 1978, 1980 (with King); 1983-1984, 1986-87 (with Shriver); 1989 (with Hana Mandlikova); 1990 (with Gigi Fernandez)

Mixed (nine)

+ Australian Open _ 2003 (with Leander Paes)

+ French Open _ 1974 (with Ivan Molina); 1985 (with Heinz Gunthardt)

+ Wimbledon _ 1985 (with Paul McNamee); 1993 (with Mark Woodforde); 1995 (with Jonathan Stark); 2003 (with Leander Paes)

+ U.S. Open _ 1985 (with Heinz Gunthardt); 1987 (with Emilio Sanchez)

Martina Navratilova, 46, teamed with Leander Paes to become the oldest to win Wimbledon, two years older than Margaret duPont.