The Women’s Tennis Association confirmed on Nov. 20 that former Wimbledon champion, Jana Novotna, had died at the age of 49 on Nov. 19. “It is with deep sadness that the WTA announces the passing on Sunday, November 19 of Jana Novotna,” the statement on the organization’s website read. “After a long battle with cancer, Jana died peacefully, surrounded by family in her native Czech Republic, age 49.” Jana won her only singles’ Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 1998, although she was runner-up in three other Grand Slam tournaments, including Wimbledon the year before.
Jana also won 12 doubles Grand Slam titles: Two at the Australian Open, three at the French Open, four at Wimbledon and three at the U.S. Open, along with four mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. She also competed in the Olympics and took home silver medals for doubles play in 1988 and 1996, along with a bronze in the singles division in 1996. Jana was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.
“Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her,” the WTA chief executive said. “Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Our condolences and thoughts are with Jana’s family.” The official Twitter account for Wimbledon also added, “The All England Club is deeply saddened to hear the news of Jana Novotna’s passing. She was a true champion in all sense of the word, and her 1998 triumph will live long in the memory. The thoughts of all those at Wimbledon are with her family and friends.”
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