Tennis Family Mourns Elena Baltacha
by ATP Staff|
The thoughts of the tennis family are full of grief, sadness and support after learning of the passing of Elena Baltacha on Sunday morning. The former British No. 1 died of liver cancer, aged 30.
Affectionately known as ‘Bally’, the Scot had retired from the WTA Tour in November 2013, before being diagnosed with cancer in January, just a few weeks after her wedding to coach, Nino Severino.
During her career, Baltacha reached a career-high World No. 49 in the WTA Rankings and won 11 singles titles. Aged 19, she was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic liver condition that compromises the immune system.
“The thoughts and condolences of the ATP players, tournaments and staff go out to Elena’s husband, Nino, her family, friends and all who knew her,” said ATP Executive Chairman and President, Chris Kermode. “Elena battled against adversity throughout her career and she will be remembered for her fighting spirit and as a role model for all.”
The tennis family gathered on centre court at the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday night to pay tribute to and remember Baltacha.
On Sunday, 15 June, British Tennis will stage ‘Rally For Bally’ in memory of Baltacha. Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova and Tim Henman will lead an all-star line-up at exhibition matches at the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club and the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, and another ahead of the Aegon International in Eastbourne. Also involved will be Queen’s Tournament Director, Ross Hutchins, Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman, Jamie Murray, Greg Rusedski, Jonathan Marray and Petra Kvitova.
Hutchins, who is back on the ATP World Tour and now in remission from Hodgkin's lymphoma, told BBC Sport: "We all wanted the Rally for Bally to lift Elena, but now this special event will be held in memory of Elena.
"She was a special person who will be remembered for positive things; a hard worker, a true professional and someone who gave so much back to the sport of tennis."
The total amount raised by the event (from the £10 ticket contribution, this JustGiving page and the associated JustTextGiving code) will be split between The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and The Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.
Stars of the ATP World Tour took to Twitter to pay their tributes to Baltacha:
Rafael Nadal: "Very sad to hear that Elena Baltacha passed away. RIP."
Rohan Bopanna: "Woke up a hear a really sad news this morn about Elena Baltacha passing away from Cancer. My condolenses to her family and friends. #RIPBally
David Ferrer: "RIP Elena Baltacha, a big loss for tennis."
Yevgeny Kafelnikov: "I am sure, that the hardest thing is for living parents, witness death of they child. Condolenses to Baltacha family. RIP Elena."
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez: "A sad day for tennis. Evil cancer has taken the life of Elena Baltacha. RIP."
Feliciano Lopez: "Very sad day for tennis..Elena Baltacha lost the battle against liver cancer at age 30..All our thoughts with her and her family.RIP."
Ken Skupski: "Life is just not fair sometimes. Such a sad day. You will be missed Elena! #Rally4Bally #RIPBally"
Jurgen Melzer: "Very sad to hear about the passing away of Elena Baltacha.Prayers and thoughts go out to her family. RIP"
Sergiy Stakhovsky: "I have no words ...condolences to her family.. May she rest in peace"
Magnus Norman: "Very sad read this morning about a member of the tennis family leaving us too young. Puts life in perspective."
Mahesh Bhupathi: "Always upsetting to hear of someone passing, more so one of our own, RIP @ElenaBaltacha :("
Rajeev Ram: "Awful, awful news about Elena Baltacha. Heart felt condolences to her loved ones. Way too young."
Andre Sa: "All our thoughts to Elena Baltacha and her family. RIP. Sad day for tennis.."
Paul Annacone: "Absolutely heartbreaking news- to hear about Elena Baltacha . Bally, you will be sorely missed."
Alex Corretja: "Tragic news the lost of former player Elena Baltacha at the age of 30! RIP"
Alexander Peya: "Shocked and sad about the passing away of Elena Baltacha! My deepest condolences go out to her family and friends! RIP"
Bruno Soares: "Very sad day, my condolences to Elena's family. May she rest in peace."
Conor Niland: "Very sad to hear passing of Elena Baltacha. I met her in Dundalk Tennis Club last summer, lovely person, world class player. RIP"