Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies aged 49

Jana Novotna

Jana Novotna

Emotional tributes from across the world of tennis poured in for former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna on Monday after she died at the age of 49 following a long battle with cancer.

Novotna passed away "after a long battle with cancer" and was surrounded by her family when she died peacefully.

Novotna, a three-time Olympic medalist, captured her only Grand Slam singles title against France's Nathalie Tauziat at Wimbledon. - "Always the champion" - "Jana was as kind as she was athletic, as smart as she was competitive".

Ms. Novotna famously cried on the Duchess of Kent's shoulder in 1993 after losing the women's singles final at Wimbledon.

Novotna retired in 1999 after 14 years on the court.

Novotna also reached the final of the 1991 Australian Open, but failed to lift the prestigious trophy as she was defeated by Monica Seles of Yugoslavia.

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Two-time Wimbledon champion and compatriot Petra Kvitova said Novotna had inspired her and supported her during her career.

Her career intrinsically linked with Wimbledon, Novotna was also paid a tribute by SW19 in a statement that read: "The All England Club is deeply saddened to hear the news of Jana Novotna's passing".

Grand Slam victor Chris Evert said: "A sad loss to the tennis world, but a devastating loss to those of us who shared a deep friendship with her.a woman with integrity and honor". "Unfortunately, she started playing better and I did not".

"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. She also played twice in the semi-finals of the French Open and US Open. "Thoughts and Prayers with Jana's family". "She said that she was very happy that I had finally won this championship".

She was a member of the 1988 Fed Cup-winning squad when Czechoslovakia got the upper hand against the Soviet Union in the final of the most prestigious women's team tournament.

Novotna was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

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