Former Wimbledon Singles Champion Novotna Dies

Print

Published on November 21 2017 6:24 am
Last Updated on November 21 2017 6:24 am

By ESPN

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

"After a long battle with cancer, Jana died peacefully, surrounded by her family in her native Czech Republic, aged 49," the WTA confirmed in a statement released Monday.

Novotna retired in 1999, two years after reaching a career-high singles ranking of world No. 2 two years earlier.

Over the course of a highly successful 14-year career, Novotna picked up 100 titles including 76 doubles crowns.

The highlight of her singles career came in 1998 when she defeated Nathalie Tauziat to win the Wimbledon women's singles title after previously falling in the 1993 and 1997 finals.

In addition to her Wimbledon triumph, Novotna claimed 12 Grand Slam women's doubles titles, which included victories at each of the four majors.

"Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her," WTA CEO Steve Simon added. "Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA.

"Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana's family."

Former British No. 1 Jo Durie paid tribute to Novotna's spirit on court.

"Oh no how terrible sad," she said on Twitter. "All thoughts to her family and friends."

"So glad Jana won Wimbledon. Such a fighter on court & a wicked sense of humour."

Former American doubles star Pam Shriver added: "Jana was as kind as she was athletic, as smart as she was competitive.

I can't believe she is gone this soon. Her smile lives forever young."