Photo: Paul ZimmerElena Baltacha (GBR)
The ITF is very sad to hear that Elena Baltacha has lost her battle with liver cancer, aged just 30.
Elena was diagnosed with liver cancer in January 2014, shortly after retiring from tennis and a few weeks after her marriage to her coach and partner, Nino Severino.
A former British No. 1, Elena was a very talented tennis player, never giving her opponents a moment's rest and always battling until the final point. Whether she was playing on the WTA tour, representing her country in Fed Cup or playing in the Olympic Games, Baltacha always played the game of tennis with the right spirit.
Baltacha led the Great Britain Fed Cup team for many years and had an excellent record. After making her debut in 2002, Baltacha would go on to play 39 ties for Great Britain, compiling an impressive 33-16 record, regularly playing both singles and doubles.
Elena's commitment to and involvement in the game of tennis was not restricted to her time on court. She also set up the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which helps children from all backgrounds to learn and play tennis. We are delighted to hear that everyone involved with the Academy will carry on the fine work that Elena started.
ITF President, Francesco Ricci Bitti said, "On behalf of the ITF, I would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Elena Baltacha. Her career was characterised by the passion that she put into it and her pride in playing for Great Britain in Fed Cup and as an Olympian. She will be missed and will be remembered by all of us in tennis."
The Rally Against Cancer - Rally For Bally will now be held in Elena's memory on 15th June and will raise funds jointly for Royal Marsden national cancer charity and Elena Baltacha Foundation, the charity attached to the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis. More information about the Rally for Bally can be found here.