1998 Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna has died at the age of 49, Sunday, after a long battle with cancer. She beat Nathalie Tauziat in the 1998 final, to then become the oldest first-time Grand Slam champion in the Open era.The WTA made the announcement on Monday.
During a 14-year professional career, Novotna won 24 singles titles and reached No.2 in the singles rankings. Novotna was also a three-time Olympic medalist and win the Fed Cup with Czech Republic in 1988. She also won the Australian Open doubles crown twice, as well as a hat-trick of French Open and US Open doubles titles.She was a beaten finalist at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1996 Atlanta Games, where she also won bronze in the singles. Novotna also reached No.2 in the singles rankings, and No.1 in doubles and retired in 1999 before being inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.
Novotna with the Wimbledon trophy
She also spent two years working as a commentator for the BBC and continued to play in invitational tournaments, often with Martina Navratilova. "Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her. Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana’s family," said WTA CEO Steve Simon in the statement.