Novotna tok sin einaste Grand Slam-tittel i single då ho slo franske Nathalie Tauziat i Wimbledon-finalen i 1998. Ho nådde også finalen i Australian Open i 1991 og spelte semifinalar i US Open og Roland-Garros.
I double tok ho heile tolv Grand Slam-titlar, og ho vann alle av dei fire store turneringane. Ho var rangert som verdseinar i double på 1990-talet og nådde andreplassen på verdsrankinga i single i 1997.
Novotna døydde heime i Tsjekkia med familien sin rundt seg, ifølgje ei fråsegn frå WTA.
Jana Novotna, the Czech tennis star who famously cried on the Duchess of Kent’s shoulder after losing a Wimbledon singles final in 1993 and then triumphed at the same tournament five years later, has died. She was 49.
Ms. Novotna died in her native Czech Republic on Sunday, the Women’s Tennis Association said in a statement. She had cancer.
She won 17 Grand Slam titles over her career, 16 of them in doubles and mixed doubles, as well as three Olympic medals. But it was her singles career that came to define her.
Ms. Novotna had sought for years to dominate the lawn at Wimbledon. In 1993, she appeared to be on the verge of just such a victory. Up 4-1 in the final set against Steffi Graf, Ms. Novotna lost the match, 7-6 (8-6), 1-6, 6-4.
As the trophies were being presented, the Czech tennis player cried on the Duchess of Kent’s shoulder. “Jana, I believe that you will do it, don’t worry,” the royal told her, according to Ms. Novotna’s telling of the story.