Sport Tennis Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna loses cancer fight aged 49

Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna loses cancer fight aged 49

Jana Novotna at a cancer charity tennis event in Paris. Photo: Getty
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Tennis player Jana Novotna has died at the age of 49 after a long battle with cancer.

The Czech player won Wimbledon in 1998 after losing in the final in both 1993 and 1997.

The Women’s Tennis Association said the former world No.1 doubles and No.2 singles champion, died peacefully surrounded by family in the Czech Republic.

She won a total of 17 grand slam titles and was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

Women’s Tennis Association chief executive Steve Simon said: “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.”

Novotna won hearts around the world

She spent 14 years on the professional circuit that included 24 WTA single titles and 76 doubles titles.

Novotna won the hearts of fans around the world when she burst into tears after throwing away victory against Steffi Graf in the 1993 Wimbledon final when on the verge of victory.

She was consoled afterwards by the Duchess of Kent.

Novotna was a three-time Olympic medallist and a member of Czechoslovakia’s 1988 Fed Cup championship team.

“She always supported us from the stands when she could. We will miss her,” the Czech Fed Cup team said on its Facebook page.