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26-1-2020, 23:44 UTC

Yukiko Maki about Jana Novotná ...
While most people would probably name Martina Navrátilová as the most impressive tennis player in Czech Republic, Jana Novotná is THE most unforgettable and remarkable athlete to me. It’s not only because her first name is the same as my Czech penpal, but also because she has given me the important lesson of life through her tennis.
I have been an avid tennis fan, and have been watching many professional tennis matches in the world. It was 1993 that I noted a rising tennis player from Czech Republic on the center coust of Wimbledon. This sportsperson on the rise was Jana Novotná, and she was going to play againts the then-champion Steffi Graf.
At the final match with Graf, she lost the first set, but continued to win the next set and four games in the third set. It seemed that she was almost going to beat Graf and to become the winner of Wimbledon Championships. There was no doubt about that, to eyes of the game audience.
However, something unexpected happened after that. She began to lose her concentration and become out of control of herself. The weight of the big title might have put too heavy pressure on her. She made easy mistakes consecutively, and at the end, let the chance to glorious victory slip away.
I couldn’t believe what was happening on the court, but came to realize and share her feeling when she cried on the shoulder of Duchess of Kent at the closing ceremony. I did not think her action was disgraceful. It was the natural reaction to her true emotion. Even if she was getting big and famous, she still was just a human like any of us ... struggling to overcome the weak and fragile side of us. She tried hard conquer it, but failed at the end. I could understand her regrets because it could happen to anybody.
Somethimes all efforts cannot be paid off, but you have to cope with it. She taught this important lesson to us through her entire tennis career. She did not end up as a loser of Wimbledon. She never gave in and gave up. Finally she managed to overcome her weakness, and gained the long-awaited victory when she become the winner at Wimbledon in 1998.
Czech tennis player Jana Novotná showed us how fragile we could be in the spotlight, and how we could be strong enough to overcome our weak self. That's why she touched my heart deeply and became the most impressive Czech sportsperson to me.