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''I''ll see you in court, Martina!'' Ms Navratilova is sued by former ''wife'' Toni Layton for half a million dollars
June 20:
Published on 21 Jun. 2009 12:22 AM IST
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There are, as the song goes, 50 ways to leave your lover. You can let them down gently, tell them 'it's me, not you', provoke a bust-up or simply ignore them and hope they'll take the hint. Few of us, however, conduct the dispatching of a no-longer-loved one with quite such brutal efficiency as Martina Navratilova demonstrated when she decided that Toni Layton's time was up. The day it happened, Toni had a terrible sense that something was wrong. She picked Martina up from the airport in Florida - she had been to Australia on a business venture - and noticed that Marti, as she called her, kept her sunglasses on. The barriers were up. Martina told Toni she wished to be taken to her office, next door to their house. When they arrived, Martina paced the room briefly before delivering her speech: 'This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do,' she said. 'This is about you.' In that moment, Toni knew it was over. 'For all those years, I was a "tennis wife" and devoted my life to being Marti's best friend, lover and business adviser,' says 56-year-old Toni, who is staying with a friend in New York. 'I put my life on hold to support her. Then, without any warning, my whole life came crashing down. I was thrown out, left homeless, penniless and with only the clothes on my back. 'Marti decided I was no longer to be a part of her life and got rid of me. It was as cold and as calculated as that. There were many facets to Martina's personality, Toni says. She could be kind and romantic, but also cold and - as evidenced by that final showdown - utterly ruthless. She is a legend in the tennis world yet she continues to this day to be jealous, says Toni, of her arch rival, Chris Evert. Toni says: 'I really don't know whether Marti was cheating on me. I had no reason to suspect she was. 'After what happened, I was left an emotional wreck with nothing left to show for eight years of my life. I still suffer nightmares today. It's something I don't think I will ever properly recover from. 'Part of me feels sad, but I am also angry at what happened then and subsequently. I actually feel very sorry for her. But what I want is justice.' Last night, a spokesman for Martina Navratilova said: 'As we said in the past, this is a private matter and we don't comment on private matters. We do not accept her assertions and do not believe they merit a response.' Miss Navratilova might have been all-conquering on the tennis court, but perhaps in her spurned lover Toni Layton she will meet her match in a court of law.

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