Jana Novotná

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Jana Novotná
Jana Novotna.JPG
Novotná in 2003
Country (sports)  Czechoslovakia (1987–1992)
 Czech Republic (1993–present)
Residence Brno, Czech Republic
Born (1968-10-02) 2 October 1968 (age 48)
Brno, Czechoslovakia
(now Czech Republic)
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Turned pro 1987
Retired 1999
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money US$ 11,230,762
Int. Tennis HoF 2005 (member page)
Career record 571–225 (72.11%)
Career titles 24 WTA, 2 ITF
Highest ranking No. 2 (7 July 1997)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open F (1991)
French Open SF (1990, 1996)
Wimbledon W (1998)
US Open SF (1994, 1998)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals W (1997)
Career record 697–153
Career titles 76 WTA, 6 ITF
Highest ranking No. 1 (27 August 1990)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open W (1990, 1995)
French Open W (1990, 1991, 1998)
Wimbledon W (1989, 1990, 1995, 1998)
US Open W (1994, 1997, 1998)
Other doubles tournaments
Tour Finals W (1995, 1997)
Mixed doubles
Career titles 4
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian Open W (1988, 1989)
French Open 2R (1992)
Wimbledon W (1989)
US Open W (1988)
Team competitions
Fed Cup W (1988)
Hopman Cup W (1994)

Jana Novotná (Czech pronunciation: [ˈjana ˈnovotnaː]; born 2 October 1968) is a former professional tennis player from the Czech Republic. She played a serve and volley game, an increasingly rare style of play among women during her career.[1][2] She won the women's singles title at Wimbledon in 1998 and was runner-up in three previous Grand Slam tournaments. Novotná also won 12 Grand Slam women's doubles titles and four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Novotná achieved a career-high singles ranking of world No. 2 in 1997, and achieved the No. 1 ranking in doubles.


Jana Novotná turned professional in February 1987.[3] In the early years of her career, she was known primarily for her success as a doubles player. In the early 1990s, Novotná began to have success in singles once four-time Grand Slam singles champion Hana Mandlíková became her coach. Previously Mike Estep had been her coach.[4]


At the 1990 French Open, Novotná, seeded 11th, achieved her best results in Grand Slam singles play up until that point. Having reached the round of 16, she faced Argentinian Gabriela Sabatini (seeded 4th). In their four previous meetings, Sabatini got the best of Novotná in three of those matches, including two straight set wins. This time proved to be different, as Novotná turned the tables against Sabatini. Although Novotná had disposed of Sabatini, she would have to face yet another difficult opponent in the quarterfinals, Katerina Maleeva (seeded 8th) from Bulgaria. In their two previous meetings Novotná had lost both times, and after Maleeva won the opening set, it appeared Novotná was about to lose a third consecutive time to Maleeva. However, Novotná came back to defeat Katerina Maleeva. Despite her success, Novotná's toughest test would be against top seeded Steffi Graf of Germany in the semifinals. When Novotná faced Graf three years before at the 1987 French Open, Graf won in straight sets. Graf again defeated Novotná without dropping a set.[4] She qualified for the first time for the season-ending Virginia Slims Championships in which she was beaten in the first round by Sabatini.[5] She finished the year ranked No. 13.[4]


Novotná enjoyed an excellent start to the 1991 season at the Australian Open, where she was seeded tenth and beat Zina Garrison-Jackson 7–6, 6–4 in the round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinal. The path to the final became considerably more difficult, as Novotná had to contend with top seeded Steffi Graf in the quarterfinal encounter. In their ten previous meetings, Novotná had lost each time against Graf. But this time Novotná pulled the upset of her life by defeating Graf, the reigning champion of the last three years, 5–7, 6–4, 8–6.[6] Now just one win away from her first ever Grand Slam final, Novotná would have to stop Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the semifinals to get there. Novotná defeated Sanchez Vicario, setting up a showdown against Monica Seles in the final. Seles eventually won in three sets.[7][8] At the end of the year she was ranked No. 7.[4]


Two years later, at the 1993 Wimbledon Championships, Novotná's game hit full stride, as she produced some of her finest tennis ever. But for Novotná (seeded 8th) to capture the title, her path would have to go through Sabatini (seeded 4th), Martina Navratilova (seeded 2nd) and top-seeded Steffi Graf. Novotná beat Sabatini in the quarterfinals, Navratilova in the semis, before facing Graf in the final. Going into her quarterfinal against Sabatini, Novotná had lost six consecutive matches against the Argentine. This time, Novotná took Sabatini apart in straight sets, prevailing 6–4, 6–3. After Novotná got rid of Sabatini, she then set her sights on a semifinal clash against Martina Navartilova, who had won each of their previous five matches. However, Novotná defeated Navratilova, setting up the Championship match against Graf. After losing a tight first set, Novotná took the second set and then had a game-point serving at 4-1 in the third set. With victory seemingly in her grasp, she lost her nerve, double-faulted, and allowed Graf to climb back into the match. Graf took the next five games and the title. During the prize presentation ceremony, a distraught Novotná burst into tears and cried on Katharine, Duchess of Kent's shoulder. The Duchess comforted her.[9] Novotná achieved a year-end ranking of No. 6.[4]


Novotná began the 1994 season by reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. In her quarterfinal match, she played Gabriela Sabatini, in what turned out to be their last head-to-head encounter. In their previous meeting, on the grasscourts at the 1993 Wimbledon Championships, Novotná beat Sabatini in a straight set quarterfinal victory. This time, on the Australian hardcourts, Sabatini defeated Novotná in straight sets. At the French Open, Novotná was beaten in the first round by Anna Smashnova in straight sets. At Wimbledon, Novotná reached the quarterfinals where she again faced Martina Navratilova in a rematch from the previous year. Novotná lost in three sets. At the season's final Grand Slam, the US Open, the 7th seeded Novotná worked her way to the semifinals where she played top-seeded Steffi Graf. Dating back to the 1992 French Open, Novotná had lost 9 consecutive matches against Graf. This trend would continue as Graf defeated Novotná in straight sets.


It took four years for Novotná to reach another Wimbledon final. In 1997, she faced top seeded Martina Hingis, and lost in three sets. But to get back to the final, Novotná had to get past Mary Joe Fernandez in the round of 16. Novotná outlasted Fernandez then defeated Yayuk Basuki of Indonesia in the quarterfinals in straight sets. Now back in the semifinals of Wimbledon, Novotná's next opponent would be Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Sanchez Vicario had prevailed against Novotná in seven of their nine previous contests, but the majority of those matches were played on clay and hard-courts, Sanchez Vicario's best surfaces. On grass, Novotná had a decided advantage, as she defeated Sanchez Vicario in straight sets. In the final against Hingis, Novotná started out fast, taking the opening set 6–2. But Hingis found her stroke and won the second set 6–3 to even the match at one set apiece. The final set proved to be a mirror image of the second set, as Hingis prevailed 6–3, handing Novotná her second loss in a Wimbledon Championship match.[10][11] However, Novotná won the WTA Tour Championships after a victory in the final over Mary Pierce and finished the year ranked a career-high World No. 2 in singles.[12][13] In addition to winning the year end WTA Championship, Novotná captured three more WTA singles titles for the year.

1998: Wimbledon glory[edit]

Novotná's moment of Wimbledon success finally arrived in 1998. After defeating Venus Williams in a close quarterfinal, Novotná avenged the previous year's loss by ousting Martina Hingis in the semifinal in straight sets.[14] She won the singles title after defeating veteran Nathalie Tauziat In the final in two sets.[15][16] She became the oldest first-time Grand Slam singles winner in the Open Era at age 29 years and nine months.[17] This record would be eclipsed by Francesca Schiavone in 2010 when she won the French Open at 29 years and eleven months and again by Flavia Pennetta when she won the US Open in 2015 at 33 years and 6 months.

Novotná won 12 Grand Slam women's doubles titles (four at Wimbledon, three at the French Open, three at the US Open, and two at the Australian Open) and four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles (two at the Australian Open, one at Wimbledon, and one at the US Open). She was 11 times the year end top-ranked doubles player.

Novotná was a member of the Czechoslovakian team that won the Fed Cup in 1988. At the Olympic Games, Novotná was a women's doubles silver medalist in 1988 and 1996 and a singles bronze medalist in 1996.

She won titles on all four surfaces and crossed the $10 million mark in career prize money in 1998, the fifth player to reach the milestone. She won more than 500 career singles matches, the 15th woman in the Open Era to accomplish the feat.

Novotná was named the 1998 WTA Tour Doubles Team of the Year with Martina Hingis, the 1997 International Tennis Federation Doubles Team of the Year with Lindsay Davenport, the 1996 WTA Tour Doubles Team of the Year with Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, with Gigi Fernández in 1991 and in 1989 and 1990 with Helena Suková.

Novotná retired from the professional tour in 1999. During her 14-year career, she won 100 titles (24 in singles and 76 in doubles).[17] She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005.

From 2000–2002, Novotná was a commentator for Wimbledon for the BBC.[18] From 2009 onwards, Novotná has played doubles at Wimbledon at the invitational draw. In 2010 her partner was Martina Navratilova. She has also played invitational doubles in the other grand slams.

Grand Slam performance timelines[edit]

(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held.


Czechoslovakia Czech Republic
Tournament 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 W–L
Australian Open A A A 1R 3R 3R F 4R 2R QF 4R A A A 3R 23–9
French Open A 1R 3R 1R QF SF QF 4R QF 1R 3R SF 3R QF 4R 41–14
Wimbledon A 1R 4R 2R 4R QF 2R 3R F QF SF QF F W QF 53–13
US Open A LQ 4R 1R 2R QF 4R 1R 4R SF QF QF QF SF 3R 39–14
Career statistics
Year End Ranking 306 171 47 35 11 13 7 10 6 4 11 5 2 3 NR


Tournament 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 SR W–L
Australian Open NH A QF SF W F QF QF SF W A A A 3R 2 / 9 36–7
French Open 2R 3R A SF W W SF F A F SF 3R W QF 3 / 12 48–9
Wimbledon A 2R 3R W W F F F F W QF QF W SF 4 / 13 56–8
US Open A 3R 3R 3R F F F 2R W QF F W W 3R 3 / 13 49–10
Win–Loss 1–1 5–3 7–3 16–3 23–1 21–3 17–4 14–4 15–2 19–2 12–3 11–1 18–0 10–4 12 / 47 189–32
Career statistics
Year-end Ranking 137 24 13 5 2 1 4 4 4 2 3 6 3 NR

Mixed doubles[edit]

Czechoslovakia Czech Republic
Tournament 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 W–L
Australian Open W W A A A A A 10–0
French Open A A A A 2R A A 0–1
Wimbledon 2R W SF A A A A 11–2
US Open W 2R A A A A F 10–2


  1. ^ Joel Drucker. "1997 US Open Preview and Predictions". The Tennis Server. 
  2. ^ "On clay, serve and volley is no folly". Reddif. 26 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "WTA player profile – Jana Novotna". www.wtatennis.com. WTA. 
  4. ^ a b c d e John Barrett, ed. (1999). ITF World of Tennis 1999. London: CollinsWillow. pp. 339–342. ISBN 9780002188623. 
  5. ^ John Barrett, ed. (1990). The International Tennis Federation : World of Tennis 1990. London: Willow Books. pp. 173–174. ISBN 9780002183550. 
  6. ^ "Novotna Ends Graf's Reign at Australian Open". The New York Times. AP. 22 January 1991. 
  7. ^ Sandra Harwitt (27 January 1991). "Tennis; Seles Rallies Past Novotna To Win Australian Open". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Richard Finn (26 January 1991). "Seles Rallies, Tops Novotna For Australian Title". Chicago Tribune. 
  9. ^ Simon O'Hagan (17 October 1993). "Profile: Serious intent of a 'choker' – Jana Novotna". The Independent. 
  10. ^ Bill Glauber (6 July 1997). "For Hingis, 16 so sweet at Wimbledon". The Baltimore Sun. 
  11. ^ Robin Finn (6 July 1997). "Wimbledon Is Latest Landmark in the Hingis Era". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ Bill Berkrot (25 November 1997). "Novotna Takes Chase Over Pierce". The Moscow Times. 
  13. ^ Mark Shapiro (24 November 1997). "Novotna Uses Powerful Serve To Defeat Pierce For Chase Title". Chicago Tribune. 
  14. ^ Robin Finn (3 July 1988). "Tennis; Novotna Ousts Hingis to Meet a Finalist Her Own Age". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ Jennifer Frey (5 July 1998). "It's Final: Novotna Wins Wimbledon". The Washington Post. 
  16. ^ Lisa Dillman (5 July 1998). "Novotna Wipes Away Wimbledon Sorrows". Los Angeles Times. 
  17. ^ a b Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. pp. 620–621. ISBN 978-0942257700. 
  18. ^ Sarah Edworthy (5 Jul 2000). "Wimbledon Diary: Novotna completes set with a pet". The Telepgraph. 

External links[edit]