Martina Navratilova talks 'Dancing With The Stars': 'I'm absolutely terrified' - See video
Martina Navratilova is a world renowned tennis player with 18 Grand Slam titles but who knew that "Dancing With The Stars" could rattle her nerves a bit?
"I'm absolutely terrified but I love it at the same time," Navratilova, 55, told OnTheRedCarpet.com shortly after she was announced as a cast member of season 14. "So, you know, you've got to embrace it and rise to new challenges."
"We all have our fears and mine has been trying to conquer them" she added. "I was afraid to fly, so I got a pilot's license. I was afraid to drown, so I got a diving license. One of my worst experiences was dancing. When I was 14 years old and my mother dressed me up and I felt so out of place. I'm like 'I got to conquer that too,' and Tony is going to help me do that."
Her partner is pro Tony Dovolani, who has competed on the show since season 2 and has only reached third place twice - once in season 2 with Stacy Kiebler and in season 8 with Melissa Rycroft.
"I'm actually really excited because for the first time I actually have an athlete in my hands and she's very coachable, she takes direction really well," Dovolani said. "The great thing about us is that I don't know what people's expectation is but we're going to really hope that we surprise them."
"I told her 'I hope you like sequins because I'm going to dress you up in all of it,'" he joked.
Navratilova added that being an athlete might give her an advantage in the ballroom when it comes to the physicality of dance.
"I think the biggest advantages for athletes is that we really know what every body part is doing at any given moment because you had to train that technique for your sport, whatever that is," she said. "So even though dancing is completely open and tennis is completely closed, it still is muscle memory. So I think athletes do have an advantage in that we've been practicing that all of our lives."
Season 14 of "Dancing With The Stars is set to premiere on March 19. The celebrity cast also includes Jaleel White, who played Steve Urkel on the sitcom "Family Matters," Melissa Gilbert of "Little House on the Prairie" fame and "The View" co-host Sherri Shepherd.
Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, who produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).