World Champion Athlete Dies at 49 After Battle With Cancer

November 20, 2017Nov 20, 2017

On Sunday, November 19, world-renowned athlete Jana Novotná passed away. The tennis star was only 49 at the time of her death. 

Any tennis fan was well versed with Novotná's tenacious playing ability. By the end of her career, the athlete won a total of 17 Grand Slam titles, making her one of the most successful tennis players of all time. 

Steve Simon, the CEO of the Women's Tennis Association, said, "Jana was an inspiration both on and off the 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."

Most of the star's 17 Grand Slam titles were won in doubles and mixed doubles competitions. One, however, was particularly outstanding. She won the 1998 Wimbledon singles title on the courts of the All England Club. 

According to the international tennis community, "That victory made her the oldest winner of a first major singles title in history."

Along with her many Grand Slam titles, the tennis player won three Olympic medals, including silver and bronze medals. Throughout her career, she achieved a world No. 1 doubles ranking and a world No. 2 singles ranking.

In 2005, the tennis player was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Though her record was eventually broken, her incredible Wimbledon win is still often talked about.

The Hall of Fame said, "Watching Jana Novotná play tennis was a pure adrenaline rush — you didn't dare take your eye off the gifted, acrobatic athlete for fear you'd miss a shot destined for ESPN's Top Plays. She was perpetual motion on court — never a dull moment — Novotná expended lots of energy running down every ball and attacking on virtually every point."

The WTA announced the news of Novotná's death on Monday morning. They said that the athlete died surrounded by family after a "long battle with cancer."

The club said, "She was a true champion in all senses of the word, and her 1998 triumph will live long in the memory."

Her friend, Martina Navratilova, said, "The tennis world is so sad about the passing of Jana Novotná. I am gutted and beyond words- Jana was a true friend and an amazing woman."

Please be praying for the athlete's family and friend as they walk through this tragedy. In other sad, breaking news, a "Cosby Show" actor just died in his New Jersey home. 

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