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Beyond the Baseline

Navratilova guest stars on 'Portlandia'

Martina Navratilova plays herself on a recent episode of Portlandia. (Screencap from IFC) Martina Navratilova is a disgruntled patron from the Feminist Bookstore on Portlandia. (Screencap from IFC)

One of my New Year's resolutions was to support any instance of tennis in pop culture. Who knew it would be so easy?

Martina Navratilova did a guest spot on IFC's breakout show Portlandia, where she played herself as a disgruntled customer of a feminist bookstore in Portland. When she leaves a negative review of the store on Yelp, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, in all their wigged-out, granola fashion glory, track her down at a bar. Who knew Navratilova loved tequila?

You can watch the full clip here. Navritilova's deadpan delivery is perfect for the show.

That Navritilova found her way onto the set of Portlandia isn't a complete shock. Little-known fact: Brownstein is an avid tennis fan. She played varsity tennis in high school in Redmond, Wash., and was one half of the school's doubles team that went undefeated but then lost in the state championships, where Brownstein apparently did her best impression of another tennis legend. "I pulled a real McEnroe," she said.

Not surprisingly, it sounds like Navratilova was a hit on set (does the woman fail at anything?). Before the Season 3 premiere, Brownstein singled out Navratilova as one of their favorite guest stars.

All the actors have been amazing, but it’s just so surreal to work with basically a legend and literally one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She’s just in the highest echelon of that sporting role and I think it’s because she wasn’t an actor or comedian or a musician, it just lends itself to this kind of surreality and everyone was a little bit awestruck and star struck, so I’ll just say her.
(h/t to @jon_wertheim)

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