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Tennis players, fans attend funeral of Wimbledon champion Novotná

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Brno, Nov 27 (CTK) – Some 300 people, including former and current tennis players and fans, paid their last respects to Czech Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna, who died after a serious illness on November 19 at the age of 49 years, at her funeral in Brno on Monday.

Her death, after a long fight with cancer, hit the whole tennis world.

Along with her parents and other family members, Wimbledon winners Jan Kodes and Petra Kvitova, Novotna’s co-player in doubles Helena Sukova, Czechs Tennis Association chairman Ivo Kaderka, Fed Cup team coach Petr Pala and Wimbledon tournament chairman Philip Brook came to the mourning ceremony.

“This is terribly said. Not only a great tennis legend has passed away, but also a great person and a good girl. This has saddened us all,” Kaderka told CTK.

“I have admired her fighting spirit. She advanced to the Wimbledon final twice, but won it for the third time only,” said Kvitova, Wimbledon winner from 2011 and 2014, who met Novotna last time at Wimbledon in 2016.

Brook said Novotna was the most significant personality of the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Novotna, who was placed second in singles and first in doubles in the WTA rankings in the past, won 24 WTA tournaments in singles and 76 in doubles and she scored a triumph in the Fed Cup once.

She won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon in 1998 and was runner-up in three previous Grand Slam tournaments. She also won 12 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and four mixed doubles titles.

She was a bronze medallist in singles in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 where she also won a silver medal in doubles with Sukova. They ended second in the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988.

Novotna ended her professional tennis career in 1999. Six years later, she was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame. She worked as a tennis coach in the past years. She was training French Marion Bartoli shortly and from 2014, she cooperated with Czech player Barbora Krejcikova.

After living in Florida for long, Novotna returned to her native town of Brno seven years ago.

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