Jana Novotna, former Wimbledon champion, dies aged 49 after long cancer battle
Jana Novotna, who won the Wimbledon 1998 title, has died at the age of 49 after a long battle with cancertennis Updated: Nov 20, 2017 15:30 IST
Jana Novotna, the Czech star of the 90s who won the Wimbledon title in 1998, has died at the age of 49, the WTA said on Monday.
A statement from the WTA said Jana Novotna, who had cancer, passed away peacefully on Sunday surrounded by her family.
One of the leading players of the 1990s, Novotna famously broke her grand slam singles duck at Wimbledon in 1998, her win over Nathalie Tauziat a particularly popular one given the emotional scenes that had followed the Czech’s loss to Steffi Graf in the 1993 final.
Jana Novotna led 4-1 in the deciding set against Graf, but was nevertheless beaten. In an iconic moment, she was then comforted by the Duchess of Kent after bursting into tears during the presentation ceremony.
"I know you will win it one day, don't worry"— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) October 2, 2016
Jana Novotna turns 48 today. 18 years ago, she proved the Duchess of Kent right... pic.twitter.com/RzfBsozKXy
Five years on from that painful defeat, and 12 months after finishing as the runner-up to Martina Hingis, Novotna’s smile lit up Centre Court following her victory over Tauziat. In addition to that memorable triumph, she also won 12 grand slam women’s doubles titles and four more in the mixed doubles.
WTA CEO Steve Simon said: “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. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana’s family.”
A former women’s doubles world number one, Jana Novotna achieved a career-high singles ranking of two.
She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005, having won 100 career titles, 24 of them in singles events.