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Jana Novotna Dies: 1998 Wimbledon Champ Was 49

Image: Jana Novotna Dies: 1998 Wimbledon Champ Was 49

Jana Novotna, after a charity tennis match in the gardens of Buckingham Palace in London on Sunday July, 2 2000. (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 20 November 2017 11:41 AM

Jana Novotna died Sunday after a bout with cancer that ended the life of the 1998 Wimbledon champion at 49, the Women's Tennis Association said in a statement.

A native of Czech Republic, Novotna won 17 Grand Slam titles, 12 in doubles, four in mix doubles, and the Wimbledon singles crown in 1998, beating France's Nathalie Tauziat for the win, the WTA said in the statement.

At 29, Novotna became at that time the oldest first-time Grand Slam singles winner in the Open era, according to BBC Sports.

"Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her," said Steve Simon, chief executive of the WTA. "Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana’s family."

Novotna, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015, lost in the finals at Wimbledon to Steffi Graf in 1993 and Martina Hingis in 1997 before winning the following year, The Guardian noted.

"An instinctive serve-volleyer and a superb athlete, Novotna was also a brilliant doubles player: winning a total of 16 Grand Slam titles," BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller said of Novotna said. "… In more recent years, she was a charming member of the BBC commentary team at Wimbledon. Jana was never ostentatious in her delivery, but her love for the sport shone out.

"Jana's microphone always needed a boost as she was so softly spoken. But she was born to play, and commentate, on Centre Court. Her words were carefully chosen, but the authority cut through," Fuller continued.

Many, led by tennis greats Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, recognized Novotna on Twitter.

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Jana Novotna died Sunday after a bout with cancer that ended the life of the 1998 Wimbledon champion at 49, the Women's Tennis Association said in a statement.
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Monday, 20 November 2017 11:41 AM
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