Martina Navratilova plans to hit tennis balls off the top of Africa’s highest peak.
The tennis legend will be leading a team of 27 climbers to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, at 19,340 feet (5,895 meters) the world’s highest freestanding mountain, next week to raise money and awareness for the Laureus Sport Good Foundation.
Navratilova recently underwent radiotherapy for breast cancer.
“I made the decision to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation at the beginning of this year, and despite everything that has happened, I now have a clean bill of health and am determined to reach the summit,” said Navratilova.
Navratilova, 54, has never climbed higher than 3,660 metres before, but lives in Aspen, Colo., so is somewhat used to altitude. “It’s just a basic hike except you get to be pretty high and there’s not much air up there, but it doesn’t require much mountain climbing experience,” Navratilova said.
Navratilova, who watched Kenyan youths play soccer in Nairobi on Saturday during a Laureus foundation event, said she has always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro.
“I was hoping to do it privately, so I’m petrified of failing because then the whole world would know,” she said. “I’m in decent shape.
“I know I’m in good enough shape to get to the top, but will the altitude get me? That’s something you can’t predict until you get there.”
Navratilova said she will carry a tennis racket to the top but doesn’t know if she can find a game up there.
“I’m bringing one racket and I’ll hit a few balls from the top to see how far they can travel,” she said. “With the air being that thin they should go a long way.”