It was a shock for the Czechia and the entire tennis world. The famous and popular tennis player Jana Novotná died in November 2017, just a few weeks after her 49th birthday. The Women’s Tennis Organization (WTA) reported at the time that the well-known hard-working and very modest athlete had succumbed to cancer.
After all, just two years before her death, the native of Brno declared in an interview for iDNES.cz: “I am addicted to tennis. Even a day without him would be terrible.” After all, her sports results also corresponded to this. She began her professional tennis career in 1987, and three years later she paid off her hard work when she became the world number one in doubles.
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Jana Novotná collected a total of 100 titles on the courts in singles and doubles, and when she won the famous Wimbledon in 1998 at the age of almost 30, she became the oldest winner of the prestigious tournament. In addition, she collected a total of 12 Grand Slams in women’s doubles and another four in mixed doubles.
In 1996, she also took bronze from the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, and a year later won the prestigious Tournament of Champions. According to estimates, in her career, Novotná earned a total of 11.25 million dollars, roughly 260 million crowns, in her career just for official financial rewards from won tournaments.
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Love, relationships and children had to be put aside
Even though her name is still familiar to many of us today, not much is generally known about her private life. Jana Novotná has focused her entire career primarily on tennis, and her modesty was manifested, among other things, in how much information she publicly shared about her privacy.
It is certain that she never forgot her native Brno, and although she lived, for example, in Belgium or in her own apartment in Florida, after the end of her career she settled back at home – she bought a house in the village of Omnice near Brno. She did not talk much about her partner relationships, but she did not hide the reasons why she remained childless.
“When a tennis player falls in love, or even wants to have children, it does not affect his career. The girl can’t afford it. If he wants to play at the highest level, love has to go aside. There are a lot of female players who are in a relationship, but what is the value? It’s better not to be distracted by it,” Novotná recalled in 2010 after the end of her career in an interview for iDNES.cz about the fact that she had to sacrifice everything for her sporting success.
Novotná did not have men of fate, but women
As time went by, more and more information began to surface, indicating that Jana Novotná apparently prefers women to men. The first speculations arose about the relationship with her trainer Hana Mandlíková (60), with whom she achieved her greatest successes.
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The tennis players lived together, but neither confirmed nor denied the love relationship. Novotná refused to say even a single word about privacy, and her supposed partner was also silent. Only after the mentioned victory at Wimbledon in 1998 did they suddenly separate and, according to Mandliková, they even completely stopped being in contact.
The second known partner of Jana Novotná was allegedly Polish tennis player Iwona Kuczyńská (61), with whom she was supposed to live near Brno after her career ended. “She lives in a house with a woman about her age. She’s probably a foreigner, because she only speaks English,” said a neighbor of the tennis player at the time for the daily Blesk.
“Just because I’m successful, everyone doesn’t have to know who I live with, where I live or what kind of car I drive,” was Novotná’s uncompromising answer to questions about privacy. Her death, just 17 months after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, shocked the sporting world and was a sad end to a highly successful but undeservedly short life.
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