Cape Town – Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna has passed away after losing a long battle with cancer.
She was 49.
"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 WTA Tour, the professional arm of women’s tennis, said via a statement released on its official website.
Known for her brilliant, athletic game, Novotna won 24 WTA singles titles in 14 years on the professional women’s circuit, along with 76 doubles titles.
Having reached the Wimbledon singles final twice previously, she famously defeated the Frenchwoman Nathalie Tauziat to win the title in 1998.
Altogether, she won 17 Grand Slam titles, including 12 in doubles and four in mixed doubles. She was a three-time Olympic medallist and a member of her country’s victorious Fed Cup championship team in 1988.
The WTA statement continued: "Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005, her career successes made Jana Novotna an inspiration to those who knew her and to many up and coming WTA players on the professional women’s tennis circuit. In more recent years, she made the transition into professional coaching."
Steve Simon, WTA CEO, commented: "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."
— WTA (@WTA) November 20, 2017