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20 Nov 2017

Former Wimbledon Tennis Champion, Jana Novotna Has Died

Former Wimbledon champion, Jana Novotna, who is a former world number one in doubles and number two in singles, has passed away peacefully on Sunday surrounded by her family.
Jana Novotna

Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna has died at the age of 49.

The Women's Tennis Association said Novotna, who had cancer, "died peacefully, surrounded by her family".

A statement read: "It is with deep sadness that the WTA announces the passing on Sunday, November 19, of Jana Novotna, the former WTA World No.1 doubles and No.2 singles champion. After a long battle with cancer, Jana died peacefully, surrounded by her family in her native Czech Republic, aged 49."

The Czech player had lost in the Wimbledon final in 1993 and 1997 before winning the Grand Slam tournament when she beat Nathalie Tauziat in 1998.

Novotna captured the hearts of fans when she burst into tears after losing to German great Steffi Graf in 1993 and was consoled by the Duchess of Kent.

"Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her," said WTA chief executive Steve Simon.

"Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana's family."

Novotna was renowned for her serve and volley game and achieved a career-high singles ranking of number two.

In addition to her only singles Grand Slam win at Wimbledon, she claimed 12 Grand Slam doubles titles and four in mixed doubles.

She was also inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

It was Novotna's exploits at Wimbledon which particularly endeared her to supporters, especially the 1993 defeat to Graf at the All England club.

Novotna won 24 singles titles in a glittering 14-year career on the professional circuit with her most famous moment coming in 1998 when she finally lifted the Wimbledon crown, beating Nathalie Tauziat in the final, after twice falling at the final hurdle.

She won 17 Grand Slam titles in total including 12 in doubles and four in mixed doubles.

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