Adam Taylor/ABC
Carrie Borzillo
March 20, 2012 AT 05:06 AM EDT
Dancing with the Stars has had its fair share of non-glamour pusses — here’s looking at you, Bristol Palin and Hope Solo — but it’s unprecedented to hear a female contestant admit that she hasn’t worn a dress in 20 years. And yet tennis icon Martina Navratilova offered up that fun fact along with the revelation that she’s “not that feminine” on Monday’s premiere of the ABC show.

“The last time [I wore a dress] was 1990, but I might be wrong,” she told reporters after she and partner Tony Dovolani came in at the bottom of the leaderboard with a 20 for their Fox Trot. “The first day here, I put on the little black dress and I went, ‘look at my legs!’ I didn’t know those legs were there. So I felt sexy right away. And, this is more feminine, but not sexy. We’ll do the sexy later. When the dance calls for it, you’ll see more skin.”

Dovolani helped Navratilova tap her inner lady by designing her elegant, cut-out dress. “The good thing about Martina is she’s embracing everything. I saw Martina transform in front of my eyes right from the word go. When she first walked into the studio, I was like, oh, this is really foreign for her. Then to see her blossom in front of me and to embrace the entire transformation into the dress, the hair, and the makeup and then the dance, to really be a soft, beautiful dancer, for me, it was quite rewarding. This is what I love doing.”

So, could Navratilova get used to her oh-so-feminine alter-ego? “Absolutely. Why not?” But once DWTS is over, don’t expect the openly gay athlete to keep wearing those fancy togs. “My girlfriend has been trying to get me to wear a dress, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Maybe high heels. But not a dress!”

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