Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Former Wimbledon champion Novotna dies aged 49

AP, PRAGUE

Jana Novotna, who won the hearts of the tennis world by sobbing on the shoulder of a member of the British royal family after a tough loss in the Wimbledon final, has died at the age of 49.

The WTA announced Novotna’s death yesterday.

The women’s tennis body said she died on Sunday after a long battle with cancer.

Novotna died in her native Czech Republic surrounded by her family, the WTA said.

Her family confirmed her death to the Czech Republic’s CTK news agency.

Novotna won her only Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 1998, eventually triumphing after two losses in the final at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1993 and 1997.

She also lost in the 1991 Australian Open final.

The 1993 loss to Steffi Graf at Wimbledon was particularly painful for Novotna, who wasted a commanding lead in the decisive third set.

She could not keep her emotions in check at the prize-giving ceremony, crying on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent and endearing her to the crowd.

“Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her,” WTA chief executive Steve Simon said. “Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana’s family.”

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