Lesbian tennis legend and activist Martina Navratilova has revealed that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The 53 year old told People magazine that the cancer had been detected in February, an event which she described as “my personal 9/11”.

“I cried,” she said. “It knocked me on my ass, really. I feel so in control of my life and my body, and then this comes, and it’s completely out of my hands.”

Navratilova has already had a lumpectomy and in May will start a six week course of radiation therapy in Paris.

According to the nine time Wimbledon champ, the cancer was detected in its early stages and the prognosis for a full recovery is said to be excellent.

Navratilova is acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest tennis players. She came out in 1981 and retired from the sport in 2006.

In September 2009, she sent a message of support to Joburg Pride, saying; “By taking part in Joburg Pride you not only stand up for your sisters and brothers across the continent and the world, but you also affirm your own dignity and humanity. Be proud Joburg!”

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