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Former tennis star Jana Novotna dead at age 49

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ANJA NIEDRINGHAUS/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9230121b) Jana Novotna Reports: Jana Novotna dies of cancer at the age of 49, Wimbledon, United Kingdom - 04 Jul 1998 (FILE) - Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic thumbs up as she shows her trophy after winning the ladies' single final of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in Wimbledon, Britain, 04 July 1998 (reissued 20 November 2017). Media reports on 20 November 2017 state that Jana Novotna died at the age of 49. Novotna, who won 16 Grand Slam titles, died of cancer and was surrounded by her family when she peacefully passed away, International Womens Tennis Association (WTA) chief Steve Simon was quoted as saying.
Anja Niedringhaus/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
Crowd favorite Jana Novotna won the Wimbledon women’s title in 1998.

Jana Novotna, who won the hearts of the tennis world when she sobbed on the shoulder of a member of the British royal family after a heartbreaking loss in the Wimbledon final, died at age 49. The WTA announced Novotna’s death on Monday, saying she died Sunday in her native Czech Republic following a long battle with cancer. Novotna died ‘‘peacefully, surrounded by her family,’’ the women’s tennis body said. Her family confirmed her death to the Czech Republic’s CTK news agency. Martina Navratilova, the tennis great who was also born in what was then Czechoslovakia, tweeted: ‘‘The tennis world is so sad about the passing of Jana Novotna. I am gutted and beyond words. Jana was a true friend and an amazing woman.’’ Novotna won her only Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 1998, eventually triumphing after two losses in the final at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in 1993 and 1997. She also lost in the 1991 Australian Open final. While she finally captured the Grand Slam singles title she longed for in 1998, she won over the Wimbledon crowd five years earlier after wasting a big lead in the decisive set in a tough three-set loss to Steffi Graf. Unable to hide her disappointment, Novotna cried on the shoulder of Britain’s Duchess of Kent at the prize-giving ceremony and was gently comforted by the royal, who told her: ‘‘I know you will win it one day, don’t worry.’’

COLLEGES

Mayfield benched for start of game

Oklahoma senior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Baker Mayfield will not start his final regular-season game Saturday at home against West Virginia after making a lewd gesture against Kansas. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley also stripped Mayfield of his captain status for the game. Kansas team captains did not shake hands with Mayfield before Saturday’s game. After getting slighted, Mayfield jawed with the Jayhawks and some fans seated behind the Oklahoma bench. He also grabbed his crotch and cursed the Kansas sideline from his bench during the third quarter of the Sooners’ 41-3 win. Mayfield apologized afterward. Kansas coach David Beaty also apologized for his team captains not shaking hands with Mayfield, saying the move made during the pregame coin toss was unacceptable . . . Michigan quarterback Brandon Peters, in the concussion protocol, could be cleared to practice without contact as soon as Wednesday. The Wolverines host No. 8 Ohio State on Saturday, hoping to pull off an upset that would knock their rival out of contention for the College Football Playoff. Peters was carted off the field after taking a hit Saturday in a loss at No. 5 Wisconsin . . . South Alabama coach Joey Jones is resigning, effective after the season finale Dec. 2 against New Mexico State. Jones is the only coach in the history of a program that fielded its first team in 2009 . . . Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus will be honored with a statue at Illinois, where he played three seasons and helped the Illini win the 1964 Rose Bowl. The bronze statue will join a statue of another former Illini star and Hall of Famer, Red Grange.

Duncan, Stockton elected to Hall

Tim Duncan and John Stockton, who were stars in college and icons in the NBA, headline the 2017 class inducted into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Duncan led Wake Forest to four NCAA Tournament appearances before going first overall to San Antonio in the 1997 draft. He went on to win five NBA titles and two MVP awards. Stockton was a four-year star at Gonzaga before spending 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz. Also inducted were Duke’s Jay Williams, Indiana’s Scott May, Purdue’s Rick Mount, Cleo Hill of Winston-Salem State, Creighton’s Paul Silas and longtime Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan . . . Center Bol Bol, son of the late Manute Bol, signed a letter of intent to play at Oregon. Bol is finishing out his senior year of high school in Las Vegas . . . The UConn Huskies are still the team to beat, remaining No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll. After routing then-No. 20 California and No. 15 Maryland the past week, UConn received all 32 votes from the national media panel. The Huskies beat the Terrapins without junior All-American Katie Lou Samuelson, who will be sidelined with a sprained left foot for a few weeks. Texas, South Carolina, and Louisville are 2-3-4 . . . Duke, which beat then-No. 2 Michigan State, 88-81, in the Champions Classic last week, pulled in 54 of 65 first-place votes to head the men’s poll. Arizona moved up to No. 2, followed by Kansas, Michigan State, and Villanova . . . Denver received 30 of 50 first-place votes to top the USCHO men’s hockey poll, followed by St. Cloud State and North Dakota. After falling out of the top 20 for three weeks, Boston College returned at No. 14. Providence is No. 10, Northeastern No. 12, New Hampshire No. 13, and Boston University and UMass Lowell tied at No. 19.

MISCELLANY

MLB posting agreement deadline moved to Tuesday

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The Major League Baseball Players Association extended its deadline by a day to 8 p.m. Tuesday for an agreement on a new posting system between MLB and its Japanese counterpart. The deal would allow star pitcher-outfielder Shohei Ohtani to be put up for bid. The players' association must approve any agreement . . . The Yankees raised their available signing bonus money for Ohtani to $3.5 million after dealing lefthander Caleb Smith and first baseman Garrett Cooper to the Marlins for former Boston College righthander Michael King and $250,000 in international pool money. New York has the second-highest total of available bonus money behind the Texas Rangers, who have $3,535,000. Also, the Yankees sent Ronald Herrera to the Rangers, who placed the righthander on their 40-man roster . . . Federal aviation investigators say former All-Star pitcher Roy Halladay performed steep turns and flew as low as 11 feet above the water in his small plane moments before his fatal crash two weeks ago. Witnesses and the plane’s data recorder show Halladay was flying just above the Gulf of Mexico in the minutes before the Nov. 7 crash near Tampa. The body of the two-time Cy Young Award winner was found in the wreckage . . . Boxer David Haye pulled out of his all-British heavyweight rematch with Tony Bellew on Dec. 17 in London because of a torn bicep muscle he suffered during a conditioning session. Haye said the fight will now take place on March 24 or May 5. Bellew stepped up a weight in March to beat Haye, a world heavyweight champion from 2009-11, in a fight that ended in the 11th round. Haye fought the last five rounds with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.