MARTINA NAVRATILOVA ends her 20 years on the professional tennis circuit at the annual women's tour championships in New York this week. Those wondering what her retirement will consist of can be sure it will include more tennis, only in different forms.
Navratilova is already testing the sport's literary waters. She has written a tennis-based mystery thriller, ``The Total Zone'' (Villard) with novelist Liz Nickles. The professional tennis tour provides the book's backdrop. More actual tennis could be in Navratilova's future, too. There is talk of forming a senior tour for women with retired players like Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, and Tracy Austin. Navratilova's participation could be a key to the circuit's success. She also is contractually committed to play one more season of Team Tennis with the New Jersey Stars next summer.
Navratilova is sure to remain quite visible on the regular tour, too. Even without a racket, her presence will be felt as the newly elected president of the Women's Tennis Association Tour Players Association. Coach with a tough mission
WILLIE STEWART, the football coach at Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C., not only doesn't seek to escape the inner city, he has turned down numerous college coaching offers to stay there. A District native, he is acutely aware of the need for positive leaders in tough neighborhoods.
Stewart works in one of the toughest. Two summers ago, four of his players were shot, one fatally, in violent acts attributed to a robbery, a traffic altercation, and drive-by shootings.
``Since then I've more or less been on a crusade, talking to as many young men as I come in contact with, not just at Anacostia,'' he said during a recent trip to Boston. Stewart was in town briefly to accept the accolades of Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society, which made Muhammad Ali the first inductee into the center's new hall of fame.
Of his commitment to staying put, Stewart says, ``I feel that a high school kid needs the help much more than a young man who attends college.'' Mega-cities add minor-league hoops
WHEN the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) opens its 48th season Nov. 18, new franchises in Mexico City and Chicago will explore the viability of bringing high-caliber minor-league basketball into major metropolises, including one that already has a popular National Basketball Association team. This effort to stretch the marketing envelope of the NBA's official developmental league should be interesting to watch.
It will bring big-city flavor to a league that has franchises in such mid-sized communities as Rapid City, S.D., and Fort Wayne, Ind. It will also provide a glimpse of Mexico's appetite for pro basketball. And the Chicago Rockers may signal whether CBA teams can successfully cohabit NBA cities. If they can, more such arrangements may follow.
This would have several advantages. The convenience of scouting and calling up minor-league players already in NBA cities is clear. For fans shut out of sold-out NBA arenas or unable to afford NBA tickets, the CBA option might also be attractive.