British tennis player Elena Baltacha dies of liver cancer at age 30

British tennis player Elena Baltacha dies of liver cancer at age 30

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Former British number one tennis player Elena Baltacha has died of liver cancer, aged 30.

Born in Ukraine and raised in Scotland, Baltacha revealed she had the illness in March.

Baltacha, who was British number one for nearly three years, retired from the sport in 2013.

Elena Baltacha factfile

  • Born in Kiev to Ukrainian parents
  • Raised in Perth, Scotland
  • Father Sergei played professional football for Ipswich, St Johnstone and Inverness Caledonian Thistle
  • Made debut on ITF circuit in 1997
  • Won first two ITF tournaments in Felixstowe and Pamplona in 2002
  • Broke into world’s top 100 in 2009 and top 50 in 2010
  • Best Grand Slam: Third round of Wimbledon (2002) and Australian Open (2005, 2010)

Baltacha learned she had liver cancer in mid-January 2014, two months after retiring from professional tennis and only a few weeks after marrying.

Baltacha was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis,  a chronic liver condition which compromises the immune system, aged 19.

Despite her illness and multiple injury problems, Baltacha went on to reach the Australian Open third round in 2005 and 2010 and reached a career-high world ranking of 49.

She won 11 singles titles, made the third round of Wimbledon in 2002 and was part of Great Britain’s Fed Cup team for 11 years.

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Former British number one Elena Baltacha

A host of 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 fundraising event, The Rally Against Cancer – Rally For Bally, which will now be held in her memory on 15 June.

The mixed doubles exhibition matches at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and the Aegon International in Eastbourne will raise money for Royal Marsden national cancer charity and Elena Baltacha Foundation.

 

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