Story highlights

  • Novotna dies “after long battle with cancer”
  • Czech won Wimbledon in 1998

In a statement on its website, the WTA said the former world No.2 died peacefully “surrounded by her family in her native Czech Republic.”

Novotna captured hearts of fans when she burst into tears after losing to Steffi Graf in the 1993 Wimbledon final and was consoled by the Duchess of Kent.

She also lost the 1997 Wimbledon final before going on to win the title by beating Nathalie Tauziat in the 1998 final.

Novotna is consoled by the Duchess of Kent

During an illustrious career, Novotna won 17 Grand Slam titles, including 12 in doubles and four in mixed doubles — and was a member of the Czech Republic’s victorious 1998 Fed Cup team.

Steve Simon, chief executive of the WTA, said: “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.”

More to follow.