Novotna, a former world number one in doubles and number two in singles, passed away peacefully on Sunday surrounded by her family the WTA announced.
A statement read: “It is with deep sadness that the WTA announces the passing on Sunday, November 19, of Jana Novotna, the former WTA World No.1 doubles and No.2 singles champion. After a long battle with cancer, Jana died peacefully, surrounded by her family in her native Czech Republic, aged 49.”
WTA CEO Steve Simon 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.”
Novotna won 24 singles titles in a glittering 14-year career on the professional circuit with her most famous and crowning achievement coming in 1998 when she finally lifted the Wimbledon crown after twice falling at the final hurdle.
Having been beaten in by Martina Hingis in the 1997 final, Novotna exacted her revenge a year later by downing the Swiss in the semi-final and went on to defeat Frenchwoman Nathalie Tauziat to lift the crown.
It was a moment of redemption for fan favourite Novotna, who was in tears after losing the 1993 final to Graf and was consoled by the Duchess of Kent at the trophy presentation.
She won 17 Grand Slam titles in total including 12 in doubles and four in mixed doubles.
The Czech had been battling cancer and died on Sunday surrounded by her family at her home. (The Independent)