Mandy Minella recently became the first recipient of the newly-renamed Jana Novotna Award. This is an award for the player displays special commitment to the Luxembourg Open and the home town girl has shown a lot of dedication towards her home tournament.
The very first award went to Romania’s Monica Niculescu, the 2016 Luxembourg Open Champion and a popular regular visitor to the Grand Duchy. But some time later, former WTA World No.2 Novotna passed away and Tournament director Danielle Maas along with her team were keen to honour the Czech champion, and renaming the award seemed the best way to honour her.
“Jana was a personal friend of ours and also she was in fact the reason why we recreated the tournament,” Maas said. “It was 30 years ago – I met her as a journalist and I asked her: ‘Do you know Luxembourg?’ She said she didn’t but if there was a tournament, she would come.
So to begin with we worked with Octagon for five years and created an exhibition, where Jana was the first winner in 1991 and 1992. Later, when she was working with Octagon, she was the owner of the tournament and she came almost every single year.” She further added, “She liked the small and close atmosphere and that she felt a part of the team.
The last time Jana came here she was coaching Barbora Krejcikova. She wore many hats and we miss her, so therefore we wanted something in her memory so that she always will be connected with the tournament.” ALSO READ Belinda Bencic: Roger Federer is so down to heart, there is no pressure