Sunday 18 March 2018

Jana Novotna

Likeable Czech tennis player who finally won Wimbledon in straight sets at the third attempt

JANA Novotna, the Czech tennis star, who died of cancer last month, aged 49, won the hearts of the Wimbledon crowds in her 1993 final against Steffi Graf, when she snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and then shed tears on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent.

The tall, blonde Czech was easy-going and likeable - and, with her serve and volley aggression, her energy in running down every ball, and her mastery of the backhand smash, one of the most watchable players on the circuit.

But she suffered from bouts of nerves, and it appeared for a time that she was destined to be remembered as one of the finest women's players, particularly on grass, never to win a Grand Slam title.

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