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Wimbledon sends thoughts and support to Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha of Great Britain reaches for a volley during her first round match against Flavia Pennetta.
Saturday 8 March 2014

The All England Club, Wimbledon, sends its support and best wishes to former British No.1 Elena Baltacha, who announced on Friday that she is in the midst of treatment for cancer of the liver. 

The 30-year-old, who retired from tennis at the end of the 2013, announced her diagnosis in a statement. 

"I have recently been diagnosed with cancer of the liver. I'm currently undergoing treatment and fighting this illness with everything I have," Baltacha said. 

"Elena and her husband Nino would like to thank everyone for their continued support," the statement added. 

"Elena has been a remarkable competitor at Wimbledon over the years, and our thoughts will be with her as she battles this disease," commented AELTC Chief Executive Richard Lewis.

Baltacha had a long and happy history at The Championships. She made her debut against Flavia Pennetta in the first round of qualifying in 2000, the first of her 13 years competing at Wimbledon. Her last match at SW19 was in the first round in 2013, also, by quirk of fate, against Pennetta.  

The highlight was her run to the third round in 2002, upsetting 32nd seed Amanda Coetzer in three sets, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, for the biggest win of her career at that point in time. Reaching the second round in 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012, Baltacha's battling ways were an annual fixture at Wimbledon, the British player endearing herself to spectators with her fighting spirit. 

She also competed in the Olympic tennis event at Wimbledon, both in the singles, and in doubles with fellow former British No.1 Anne Keothavong, which she described as one of her career highlights, alongside breaking the world's top 50, reaching four WTA quarter-finals, and beating three top 10 players. 

"A few years ago I took the girls from my academy - the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis - to Wimbledon as a special treat," Baltacha said last year. "They are from primary schools in deprived areas of Ipswich and some of them had not picked up a tennis racket until we started working with them. I'm really proud of how well they've done and it was fantastic to see the look on their faces as they took their first look at Centre Court.

"It was very inspiring to see how excited the girls were and it was a great reminder for me of just how special it is to play at Wimbledon."



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