London, May 5: Former British number one tennis player Elena Baltacha has died of liver cancer. She was 30.
Born in Ukraine and raised in Scotland, Baltacha revealed she had the illness in March. She was British number one for nearly three years, and retired from the sport last year.
Baltacha was raised in Australia and made her tennis debut on ITF circuit in 1997. She won her first two ITF tournaments in Felixstowe and Pamplona in 2002
and broke into world’s top 100 in 2009 and top 50 in 2010.
Her best grand slam performance was a third round entry in Wimbledon (2002) and the Australian Open in 2005 and 2010.
Baltacha’s family said they were heartbroken beyond words over her loss.
They described her as an amazing person with an inspirational spirit, warmth and kindness.
Baltacha was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic liver condition which compromises the immune system at the age of 19, but still went to play professional tennis for 11 years.
She won 11 singles titles and was part of Great Britain’s Federation Cup team for 11 years.
Several current and former tennis stars, including Andy Murray, Ross Hutchins, Martina Navratilova, Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski, Jamie Murray, Jonny Marray, Anne Keothavong and Heather Watson have agreed to take part in a fund raising event, The Rally Against Cancer – Rally For Bally, which will now be held in her memory on 15 June. (ANI)