Jana Novotna, Czech Winner of Wimbledon, Dies at 49

Former Wimbledon champ loses battle to cancer at the age of 49 Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna was a true victor but it was the misfortune of the brilliant Czech, who died on Monday aged 49, to always be recalled for one of sport's most famous and heart-rending meltdowns despite her collection of 100 tennis titles.

She retired from the pro tour in 1999 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

Jana Novotna has lost her battle with cancer. She was a wonderful player, she was so good on faster courts, she would serve and volley and chip and charge and she was great around the net.

Novotna also won four Wimbledon doubles titles with compatriot Helena Sukova in 1989 and 1990, with Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1995 and with Hingis in 1998.

"I think everyone had a tear in their eye when she didn't win that first final against Steffi. Her smile lives forever young", Shriver tweeted.

Steve Simon, WTA CEO, said: "Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her".

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Novotna, a former world number one in doubles and number two in singles, passed away peacefully on Sunday surrounded by her family, the WTA announced. Yet, once again, it heightened the idea that Novotna was one of sport's great "chokers" - one reporter once described her cruelly as "No-No Novotna, the lady from Choke-Oslovakia" - but it was a tag that she always challenged feistily.

"I think I always said that winning one Grand Slam would mean so much to me", Novotna said after her win over Tauziat.

Novotna won 500 career singles matches, making her the 15th woman in the Open Era to accomplish the feat. She also won mixed doubles titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Novotna was a three-time Olympic medallist and a member of Czechoslovakia's 1988 Fed Cup championship team. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana's family.

"The thoughts of all those at Wimbledon are with her family and friends".

  • Stacy Allen