Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies after long battle with cancer

Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies after long battle with cancer

Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies after long battle with cancer

Updated 21 November 2017, 7:40 AEDT

Czech tennis player Jana Novotona, a winner of 17 major titles, dies peacefully surrounded by family after losing a long battle with cancer.

Tennis player Jana Novotna has died at the age of 49 after a long battle with cancer.

The Czech player won the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament in 1998 after losing in the final in both 1993 and 1997.

The Women's Tennis Association said the world number one doubles and number two singles champion, died peacefully surrounded by family in the Czech Republic.

She won a total of 17 Grand Slam titles and was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

Women's Tennis Association chief executive Steve Simon said: "Jana was an inspiration both on and off court to anyone who had the opportunity to know her."

"Her star will always shine brightly in the history of the WTA. Our condolences and our thoughts are with Jana's family," he said.

Novotna won hearts around the world

She spent 14 years on the professional circuit that included 24 Women's Tennis Association single titles and 76 doubles titles.

Novotna won the hearts of fans around the world when she burst into tears after throwing away victory against Steffi Graf in the 1993 Wimbledon final when on the verge of victory.

She was consoled afterwards by a British duchess.

Novotna was a three-time Olympic medallist and a member of Czechoslovakia's 1988 Fed Cup championship team.

"She always supported us from the stands when she could. We will miss her," the Czech Fed Cup team said on its Facebook page.

ABC/Reuters