Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies aged 49

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

The Czech player lost her long battle with cancer and died peacefully surrounded by her family, according to the WTA.

Novotna claimed victory in the 1998 Wimbledon final having suffered defeats in 1993 and 1997.

“Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her,” said WTA chief executive Steve Simon.

“Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana’s family,” he added.

Novotna captured the hearts of fans at SW16 after bursting into tears following her first defeat in the final to Steffi Graf in 1993.

She was famously consoled on Centre Court by the Duchess of Kent who told her she would come back and win it, being proved correct five years later.

Novotna was known for her entertaining style of play and attacking approach with serve-volleying.

She achieved a career high ranking of world No. 2 and was also inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

In the 1990s Novota reached the peak of her powers, reaching the final of the Australian Open once and the semi-finals of the French Open and US Open twice in addition to claiming the Wimbledon title.

Whilst Wimbledon was her only major singles title, the Czech also excelled on the doubles court, claiming 12 Grand Slam doubles titles and four in mixed doubles.

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