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Martina Navratilova to Hit Tennis Balls Off Kilimanjaro

Martina

Dec. 4: Tennis great Martina Navratilova celebrates after scoring a goal during a demonstration at a soccer game in Nairobi, Kenya.AP

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Martina Navratilova plans to hit tennis balls off the top of Africa's highest peak.

The tennis legend is climbing Tanzania's 19,340 foot- (5,895-meter) mountain next week to raise money and awareness for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Navratilova, 54, has never climbed higher than 12,000 feet (3,660 meters) before, but lives in Aspen, Colorado, so is somewhat used to altitude.

"It's just a basic hike except you get to be pretty high and there's not much air up there, but it doesn't require much mountain climbing experience," Navratilova said.

Navratilova, who watched Kenyan youths play soccer in Nairobi on Saturday during a Laureus foundation event, said she has always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro.

"I was hoping to do it privately, so I'm petrified of failing because then the whole world would know," she said. "I'm in decent shape. I know I'm in good enough shape to get to the top, but will the altitude get me? That's something you can't predict until you get there."

The fund raising goal for the climb is 100,000 euros ($134,000). More than half of that already has been raised.

Navratilova said she will carry a tennis racket to the top but doesn't know if she can find a game up there.

"I'm bringing one racket and I'll hit a few balls from the top to see how far they can travel," she said. "With the air being that thin they should go a long way."