Women’s tennis great Jana Novotna has died at the age of 49, passing away peacefully on Sunday surrounded by family after a long battle with cancer.
The WTA released the following statement:
“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 star was one of the most prominent players on the women’s circuit during the 1990s, winning Wimbledon in 1998 (after two previous final losses at the All England Club), a year after reaching a career-high ranking of No.2.
She also reached the Australian Open final in 1991, achieved semi-final appearances at the French Open (1990 and ’96) and US Open (1994 and ’98), won 12 doubles grand slam titles, and won singles bronze in the 1996 Olympics and doubles silver in 1988 and ’96.
But perhaps Novotna’s most iconic moment was breaking down in tears after losing the 1993 Wimbledon final to Steffi Graf and being comforted by the Duchess of Kent.
[YouTube – Wimbledon]