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Tennis star Martina Navratilova shows off artistic side

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When Martina Navratilova taps into her creative side, she’s just doing what comes naturally.

The tennis superstar has been collaborating with contemporary Slovak artist Juro Kralik for more than 15 years on something they call Grand Slam Art — works made with tennis balls acting as paint brushes, so to speak. Navratilova actually slams the balls against the canvas — and voila! — masterpiece.

She and Kralik will be on hand at 3 p.m. Saturday to create a piece on site in the Design District, during Art Wynwood.

We talked before the show.

How did Grand Slam Art come to be?

Juro came to me in 2000 about this idea and we started making pieces the next year. It kind of grew from there and expanded and took on a life of its own. What was a whim became interesting and we just couldn’t stop. Now we have over 200 pieces.

Were you always interested in art?

I would say I appreciated great art but I never thought I would part of this kind of endeavor. It was all Juro’s idea. I was the conduit. But eventually I found myself giving more input and sharing ideas and getting more involved.

How you describe the works as a whole?

Very happy, uplifting, positive and fun. Something that makes you feel good and makes you keep looking. There’s an unpredictability about the pieces and I love the cool, kinetic energy of that. Some have a three dimensional feel. You never know how something is going to turn out, which is great.

You have called Miami home for the last four years. How are you enjoying living here?

People assume I have homes all over. I do travel a lot but I have one house and yes it is here. I am happy. It’s a little hot and a little flat. I miss the mountains. It’s a compromise [she lives with wife Julia Lemigova]. I do a lot of water sports —paddleboarding outside the house, ride my bicycle on Key Biscayne. We take advantage. I’m also a foodie and there are a lot of great restaurants. It’s a good place to be.

Info: A portion of the proceeds from sales will support the Perry J. Cohen Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. www.pjcf.org

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