Published: Tue, November 21, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Tennis world pays tribute to 'courageous' and 'amazing woman' Jana Novotna

Tennis world pays tribute to 'courageous' and 'amazing woman' Jana Novotna

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.

The Czech player, who won the 1998 singles title at SW19, lost her battle with the disease on Sunday, the WTA announced on their website on Monday morning.

Winning 100 tournaments - 24 WTA singles and 76 doubles, including one grand slam singles and 16 doubles titles - plus three Olympic medals and the Fed Cup with Czechoslovakia, made her an outstanding champion.

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Jana Novotna has lost her battle with cancer.

When presented with the runner's-up trophy, Novotna started to cry and the Duchess of Kent comforted her on Centre Court in a touching moment. "RIP", Pliskova tweeted. Lucie Safarova, the 2015 French Open finalist, posted an image on Instagram of Novotna clutching the Wimbledon trophy after her 1998 victory at the All England Club.

She won the hearts of fans around the world when she burst into tears after throwing away victory against Steffi Graf in the 1993 final and was consoled afterwards by a British duchess.

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Novotna said the Duchess had told her "I believe you will do it" and, indeed, she did, winning Wimbledon, aged 29 and nine months, to become the oldest first-time Grand Slam singles victor in the Open era. "Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana's family", WTA's CEO Steve Simon said. I can't believe she is gone this soon. She will be always the champion for me.

"She always supported us from the stands when she could". "She said that she was very happy that I had finally won this championship".

Her serve-and-volley game was a rarity among women, and helped make her a formidable doubles player.

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Barabara Schett also played alongside Novotna in invitational events and she wrote: "What a wonderful person, handsome soul tennis player and role model we have lost today".

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