Wimbledon Champion Jana Novotna Dies After Battle With Cancer

By Reuters
November 20, 2017Sportsshare
Wimbledon Champion Jana Novotna Dies After Battle With Cancer
Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic hugs the winner's trophy after victory over Nathalie Tauziat of France in the Women's Singles final at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships July 4, 1998. (Reuters/File Photo)
PRAGUE —Czech tennis player Jana Novotna, a Wimbledon champion in 1998 and 16-time grand slam winner in doubles and mixed doubles, has died at the age of 49 after a long battle with cancer, the Women’s Tennis Association said on Monday.

Novotna, who entered the tennis Hall of Fame in 2005, died surrounded by her family in the Czech Republic, the WTA said.

In a career spanning 14 years on the professional circuit that included 24 WTA singles titles and 76 doubles titles, Novotna finally won her only singles grand slam at Wimbledon in 1998 after losing in the final in 1993 and 1997.

NTD Photo
Jana Novotna plays a return to France’s Nathalie Dechy during their fourth round match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships (Reuters/File Photo)

She won the hearts of fans around the world when she burst into tears after throwing away victory against Steffi Graf in the 1993 final when on the verge of victory and was consoled afterwards by a British duchess.

“Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her. Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA,” WTA Chief Executive Steve Simon said in a statement.

Novotna was a three-time Olympic medalist and a member of Czechoslovakia’s 1988 Fed Cup championship team.

“She always supported us from the stands when she could. We will miss her,” the Czech Fed Cup team said on its Facebook page.

NTD Photo
Jana Novotna holds up her certificate after being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island July 9, 2005. During her twelve year career she won 24 singles titles and 76 doubles titles. (Reuters/Brian Snyder/File Photo)
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