Jana Novotna breathed her last on Sunday night as she passed away peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by family, at the age of 49 in Czech Republic. She had been battling cancer for a long time. The announcement was made by the women’s tennis body WTA on Monday. Her family confirmed her death to Czech Republic’s news agency CTK.
Novotna won her only Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 1998, eventually triumphing after two losses in the final at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in 1993 and 1997. She also lost in the 1991 Australian Open final. Through her 14-year professional career, Novotna won 24 singles titles and 76 doubles titles with a total 17 Grand Slams. She climbed to a career-best World No 2 in 1997 and reached at the top of the world ranking in doubles.
A three-time Olympic medallist, Novotna, also led her native Czechoslovakia to the team Fed Cup title in 1988. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. Tributes were paid to the Czech player-turned-coach who is most remembered for her defeat in the 1993 Wimbledon final.
“I’m dependent on tennis,” she said in an interview two years ago. “A day without it would be terrible.”