Jana Novotna, former Wimbledon tennis champion, dies aged 49 – Trending Stuff

Jana Novotna, the Czech tennis player who won the 1998 womens singles at Wimbledon, has died at the age of 49

Jana Novotna, who has died of cancer at 49, will forever be remembered for a moment of tears in defeat on Centre Court at Wimbledon, as much as the 100 titles she won in a long and lauded tennis career.

The Czech player, who was inducted into the sports hall of fame in 2005, struggled to contain her emotions after losing to Steffi Graf in the 1993 final at the All England Club, and the image of the Duchess of Kent consoling her during the trophy presentation is among the most enduring of the championships.

She was in sight of victory, leading 4-1 in the third set, when the German took five games in a row to win 7-6 (6), 1-6, 6-4. When Novotna began crying after being presented with the runner-ups plate, the Duchess of Kent put an arm around her and whispered: Dont worry, youll win this one day.

She lost to Martina Hingis in the final four years later but won the title in 1998, beating the French player Nathalie Tauziat (whose cousin, Didier Deschamps, a week later captained France to the World Cup title in Paris). At 29 years and nine months, Novotna was the oldest first-time winner of a slam singles title in the Open era.

3 July 1993, Wimbledon final

Four-one up in the final set against Steffi Graf, Jana Novotna was poised to pull off one of Centre Court’s great upsets when she served for the point to go a further game ahead and, in all likelihood, beyond the reach of her opponent. It was a second serve and, sensing this was her moment, Novotna strained to put Graf’s return under pressure. The result was a double fault and Graf went on to break serve. Just over 20 minutes later, they were shaking hands. Novotna had failed to win another game.

The shock of her collapse finally struck as she collected her runner’s-up medal from the Duchess of Kent. ‘I wanted to handle myself well,’ she said later, ‘but when she smiled at me I just let go.’ As she wept, Novotna was consoled by the Duchess. ‘Don’t worry Jana,’ she said. ‘I know you can do it.’ Indeed, she did. Five years later, she was Wimbledon champion

Photograph: Chris Cole/Getty Images Europe

In a 2015 interview with the BBC, Novotna said of the 1993 final: The next day, even though I was sad and disappointed, I opened the newspaper and my picture with the Duchess of Kent was on the front pages. For a moment it felt like I was the winner and that was a great feeling. I still have the newspapers. Theyre beautiful pictures and I think it showed the human side of professional tennis, which most of the people came to remember instead of me losing.

It wouldnt sound great to say the 1993 final was the one I was most proud of because I lost the match when I was ahead. But it meant so much for me and maybe it made me a better player, a better person and maybe that match helped me to accomplish a lot more in my career.

Novotna, like many players of her era, was most comfortable playing at the net, a serve-volleyer of the excellent judgment and touch. Her forte was doubles, in which she won 12 grand slam titles including the full set of Wimbledon, Australian, French and the US as well as four in mixed doubles, but she was widely respected in singles, also.

The Duchess of Kent comforts Jana Novotna as she presents her with the runner up trophy on centre court at Wimbledon. Photograph: PA

Novotnas singles game flourished under the tutelage of her compatriot, Hana Mandlikova, and she earned $10m in a career in which she won more than 500 matches, beating some of the best players in the game, mostly on grass, where her skills were seen to best advantage. Her doubles partners included Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Arantxa Snchez Vicario, Gigi Fernndez and Helena Sukova.

She came to prominence in singles at the Australian Open in 1991 when, against all expectations, she beat Graf for the first time in 11 attempts on her way to the final, where she lost in three sets to Monica Seles.

Novotna won silver in the doubles at the 1988 Olympics and again in 1996 at Atlanta, where she also won bronze in the singles. She was ranked No1 in the world in doubles in 1990 and No2 in singles in 1997. Over 14 years, she won 24 singles titles at all levels and 76 in doubles. After retiring in 1999, Novotna briefly did commentary for the BBC at Wimbledon.

It is a measure of the esteem in which she was held on and off the court that the tributes arrived from all quarters of the sport on Monday.

Jana was as kind as she was athletic, as smart as she was competitive, the former world No1 Pam Shriver said. I cant believe she is gone this soon. Her smile lives forever young.

It was a sentiment echoed by the former British No1 Andrew Castle who said: She was good fun of an evening, a champion on court, so tough to play against. And her smile was wonderful.

Jo Durie, who lost all her five matches against Novotna, tweeted: Oh no how terrible sad. All thoughts to her family and friends. So glad Jana won Wimbledon. Such a fighter on court & a wicked sense of humour.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Australian Open: Williams sisters to compete in grand slam final

(CNN)On Australia Day at the Australian Open, Americans ruled in the ladies’s semifinals.

More particularly, 2 resistant, famous gamers who’ve long suffered for United States tennis– Serena and Venus Williams.

        They advanced on the other hand styles, with Venus edging free-swinging, fellow California native CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-3, prior to Serena squashed Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2 6-1 in 50 minutes.
        It’s a hit begin to the grand slam calendar, 12 months after the topic of match repairing eclipsed much of exactly what occurred on court at Melbourne Park.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/26/tennis/venus-serena-williams-australian-open/index.html

      Categories CNN

      After nearly 20 years, former tennis prodigy Lucic-Baroni back in major semifinal

      Melbourne (CNN)Trying to liquidate a tense quarterfinal at the Australian Open versus among the competition favorites, an ailing Mirjana Lucic-Baroni grabbed rosary beads throughout a changeover and positioned them around her neck.

      Within minutes, the 34-year-old was up to the blue tough courts, deal with down, and started to weep.

            Eliminating fifth-seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4 3-6 6-4 to establish a clash with fellow thirtysomething Serena Williams– a persuading 6-2 6-3 winner over Johanna Konta– Lucic-Baroni reworded the history books to make the semifinals at a significant for the very first time in an impressive 18 years.
            “Nobody in this world believed I might ever be here once again, besides my closest household, my coach, bros, sis, my hubby and mommy,” Lucic-Baroni informed press reporters. “It’s enjoyable to show everybody incorrect.

            “It’s more unique this time for sure.”
            Don’t be too severe on the skeptics.
            When the 79th-ranked Croatian won her first-round match versus China’s Wang Qiang in a tight 3 sets, she gathered a very first win in Melbourne given that 1998. The 19-year space in grand slam wins– at the very same grand slam, that is– exceeded the previous record of 17 years held by Kimiko Date at Wimbledon.
            It appeared fitting that her on-court interview Wednesday was performed by Rennae Stubbs, who Lucic-Baroni downed in 1998 prior to losing 8 in a row at the Australian Open.
            Back at the All England Club in 1999, Lucic-Baroni was a 17-year-old illustration contrasts to greats of the video game consisting of Steffi Graf.
            Not just did she advance to the quarterfinals however Lucic-Baroni extended Graf to 3 sets.
            But exactly what unfolded afterwards– instead of a profession filled with prizes– works as a cautionary tale for apparently cannot-miss out on potential customers.
            Lucic Baroni ran away to the United States after she stated she was mistreated by her dad, stopped betting a while due to monetary concerns and was taken legal action against by the management business at one time so eager to sign her, IMG. She counter took legal action against.

            Book in the works?

            So much has actually been stated and blogged about Lucic-Baroni that she may compose a book to inform her side of the story.
            “A part of it I simply wish to state due to the fact that individuals presume a lot and individuals do not know,” she stated. “That aggravates me when individuals presume things like injuries and things like that and individuals discuss it.
            “I sort of wish to be referred to as an incredible fighter, an individual who stood firm versus whatever, versus all chances. Which’s exactly what I take pride in.”
            Her brand-new coach, Marin Bradaric, does not have to be persuaded.
            Bradaric saw enormous capacity in Lucic-Baroni, in spite of her age, sinking ranking– and losing in certifying at a warmup competition in Sydney 2 weeks earlier.
            “In the supper prior to we went to Australia I informed her that I believe she can win a grand slam,” the 31-year-old informed CNN, confessing, however, that the objective for the competition was to merely win a round.
            “Honestly I didn’t anticipate this. Specifically after Sydney.
            “She took it so hard on herself, however I was still thinking due to the fact that I saw numerous advantages in her video game. She is enhancing psychologically, she is aiming to remain favorable and think and keep one’s cool due to the fact that often she’s truly tough on herself, slamming herself.”
            Playing with a greatly strapped left leg versus Pliskova, an effect of playing songs and doubles, a set of medical timeouts worked as significant momentum shifts.
            Trailing 6-4, 2-1, Pliskova required the fitness instructor due to the fact that of exactly what seemed a blister on her best foot.
            At 3-3, she broke when Lucic-Baroni nervously discarded a smash into the internet.
            Seizing the effort in the 3rd set, Lucic-Baroni consequently dropped 3 video games in a row to route 4-3 on serve.

            Trainers called

            That’s when it was Lucic-Baroni’s rely on require the fitness instructor. She went off court for treatment and returned a various gamer, winning 9 points in succession and 12 of the last 13 despite the fact that she was obstructed.
            Lucic-Baroni upset third-seed Agnieszka Radwanska this fortnight and another grand slam finalist, Simona Halep, two times at majors. She subdued the duo with her strong ground strokes, shots that made her a prodigy in the very first location.
            But beating Pliskova might have been more excellent.
            The Czech reached in 2015’s United States Open last and won the Brisbane International previously this month, leading more than a couple of to choose the 24-year-old as the Australian Open winner.
            Last year’s ace leader on the ladies’s trip struck 8 versus Lucic-Baroni however won less than 60% of her very first serve points.
            “It resembled her tenth match in Australia however she didn’t satisfy a challenger who is striking so tough therefore quick,” Pliskova’s coach, David Kotyza, informed CNN. “That broke her serve a bit. I believe she believed more about the return of Mirjana, so that’s why her serve decreased.
            “I believe Mirjana was the much better gamer. She didn’t wait on the shots. She was the one who wished to choose the points. She was worthy of to win.”

            Veterans in the semis

            Lucic-Baroni, Serena Williams, 35 and Venus Williams, 36, provide the semifinals a definitely older appearance than typical. CoCo Vandeweghe, at 25, has actually bucked the pattern.
            Coupling Serena Williams’ kind and Lucic-Baroni’s leg, the latter’s journey– a minimum of on court in Melbourne– is anticipated to come to an end. The last time they played remained in 1998 at Wimbledon, prior to their professions going various methods.
            “I keep in mind winning,” stated Serena, edging ever closer to going beyond Graf’s Open Era haul of majors. “I was so fired up due to the fact that I was so young. She was very young, too.”
            Lucic-Baroni promises to complete the method she states she constantly does.
            “I’m going to head out there with my heart and do the very best I can.”

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/25/tennis/australian-open-tennis-lucic-baroni-serena/index.html

          Categories CNN

          Serena Williams makes 10th straight grand slam semifinal at Australian Open

          Melbourne (CNN)Judging by the method she is playing, Serena Williams will be tough to stop as the Australian Open nears its conclusion.

          Williams alleviated previous ninth-seed Johanna Konta 6-2 6-3 at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday to move into a 10th successive grand slam semifinal and closer to a record 23rd significant.


              MUST WATCH

              Despite the loss, Konta stated dealing with Williams was most likely among the very best experiences of her life.
              “Credit to her, she played a practically ideal very first set,” Konta informed press reporters. “I felt she did extremely well.
              “She simply revealed and reveals why she is who she is.”

              Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/25/tennis/australian-open-tennis-lucic-serena/index.html

              Stan Wawrinka beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Australian Open quarter-final as it happened

              Game-by-game report: the fourth-seeded Swiss reached the semi-finals of 2017s initially grand slam with a straight-sets win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

              Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jan/24/stan-wawrinka-v-jo-wilfried-tsonga-australian-open-quarter-final-live