Wimbledon won't be the same without Jana Novotna - Duchess of Kent

23 November 2017 04:54

The Duchess of Kent has paid tribute to Jana Novotna following the Czech's death from cancer, saying Wimbledon "will not be the same without her".

Novotna, who won the 1998 singles title at SW19, lost her battle with the disease on Sunday aged 49.

She came to the attention of the British public in 1993 when she featured in one of the most enduring images in the long history of Wimbledon as she was famously consoled by the royal after losing the 1993 final to Steffi Graf, having led the final set.

She was in floods of tears as she received her runners-up prize and, in a moment of unusual emotion, the Duchess embraced the Czech, telling her: "I know you will win it one day, don't worry."

Novtona proved her right by winning the crown in 1998, after another final defeat in 1997.

The Duchess said on the royal family's official Twitter count: "Jana Novotna was a brave, courageous sweet lady with a wonderful sense of humour.

"I am very saddened by the news of her death and all my feelings are with her family. Wimbledon will not be the same without her."

Novotna's Wimbledon success was her only grand slam singles title, but she was prolific in the doubles, winning 16 times at the grand slams, 12 in the women's and four in the mixed doubles.

Source: PA