Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies

Jana Novotna Czech tennis player – obituary

Jana Novotna Czech tennis player – obituary

Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna was a true victor, but it was the misfortune of the brilliant Czech to always be remembered for one of sport's most famous and heart-rending meltdowns.

Novotna, who entered the tennis Hall of Fame in 2005, died surrounded by her family in the Czech Republic, the WTA said. Novotna was famous in part for winning Wimbledon in 1998, after losing in the United Kingdom tournament's final in 1993 and 1997.

Tennis great Martina Navratilova described Novotna as a "true friend" and an "amazing woman". "Third time lucky", the Duchess told Novotna after she lost the 1997 Wimbledon final to Martina Hingis in three sets. "I am gutted and beyond words- Jana was a true friend and an incredible woman..."

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She won Wimbledon the following year (1998).

"She always supported us from the stands when she could". "And winning Wimbledon, I guess it means everything, really. Thank you Jana. We will miss you".

Novotna won 500 career singles matches, making her the 15th woman in the Open Era to accomplish the feat.

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"Jana was an inspiration both on and off the court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her", said Steve Simon, the W.T.A.'s chief executive.

"Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Thoughts and Prayers with Jana's family". But it was the highlight of her singles career that came to define her.

Novotna started crying when presented with the loser's trophy before the Duchess of Kent put a comforting arm around her and gave her a shoulder to shed her tears on during emotional scenes on Centre Court.

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So, it seemed, was the whole of tennis as the woman who had come so close to the biggest prizes became the oldest first-time women's grand-slam singles victor in the Open era.

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