A few days after saying she did not want to make any emotional decisions about her career, a composed and collected Jana Novotna announced today that she will be retiring at the end of this year. Novotna, 30, won Wimbledon last year but has had difficulty this summer since spraining her ankle at the French Open.
"I've been thinking about this for a very long time," said Novotna, who lost to Anke Huber in the third round of the U.S. Open. "It's really difficult to point out one thing -- why I am retiring or why I won't be playing anymore next year. I just feel the time for it is right."
Novotna's decision comes at a time of transition in women's tennis, when teenagers such as Martina Hingis and Venus Williams are taking center stage, replacing veterans such as Novotna and Steffi Graf, who announced her retirement about a month ago. While Graf was the much more dominating singles player, Novotna did win 12 Grand Slam women's doubles titles and four mixed doubles Slam titles.
"Winning Wimbledon last year and having such the wonderful year that I had just made everything easier," said Novotna, who is as well-known for her near misses at the All England club as she is for her eventual triumph. In her struggles at Wimbledon, she became very friendly with the Duchess of Kent, whom she called Sunday to discuss her decision.
"She said, `Don't do it,' and I said, `I have to,' " Novotna said. "But I'm still going to come [to Wimbledon.] I have the little badge."
Free Beer, Limited Toilets
French Open finalist Andrei Medvedev spoke out on several issues after his 7-6 (7-5), 6-1, 6-0 loss to Yevgeny Kafelnikov, including the conditions here.
"For a Grand Slam in one of the biggest countries in the world, the locker rooms and everything in the locker rooms -- except for the free beer -- everything is just horrible," he said. Medvedev explained that he was not asking for "a lot of space and naked girls coming through. . . . Just some decent facilities. I think the locker room is very bad. . . . I think four toilets is not enough for 256 players." . . .
Dutchman Richard Krajicek, the No. 12 seed, avenged his second-round loss to American Vince Spadea at the French Open. With a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 fourth-round victory, the 1996 Wimbledon champion becomes a serious contender for a second career Grand Slam trophy.
John McEnroe will replace Tom Gullikson as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, CNN-Sports Illustrated reported.
The U.S. Tennis Association probably will make an announcement this week, the network said, without citing the source of its information.
A spokesman for the USTA said the organization doesn't have anything to announce. McEnroe, in an interview during CBS Sports' coverage of the U.S. Open, said he hopes that he'll be named Davis Cup captain, though he said the USTA hasn't told him anything.