"Jana Novotna was a brave, courageous sweet lady with a wonderful sense of humour"
Thursday 7 November 2019 13:49, UK
The Duchess of Kent has paid tribute to Jana Novotna saying Wimbledon "will not be the same" following the death of the "brave" former champion.
Novotna, who lost her battle with cancer on Sunday aged 49, was famously consoled by the royal after losing the 1993 final against Steffi Graf, having led 4-1 in the final set.
The Czech player was in floods of tears as she received her runners-up prize and the Duchess embraced her, before saying: "I know you will win it one day, don't worry."
Novotna secured her only Grand Slam title in 1998 at the All England Tennis Club with victory over Nathalie Tauziat, a year after suffering her second defeat in the Wimbledon final.
The Duchess said on the royal family's official Twitter account: "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, who was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 20015, won 16 Grand Slam titles in the doubles, reaching world No 1 in the doubles and as high as world No 2 in singles.