Tennis stars out in force to mark legacy of Elena

The funeral of Elena Baltacha has been taking place in Ipswich today.

Just before 2:30pm on a warm, bright Ipswich afternoon, the hearse carrying the body of Elena Baltacha arrived at the parish church of St John the Baptist - just a few hundred yards from where she lived.

Elena's coffin being carried into the church Credit: PA

A hugely sad occasion for the many people who'd been touched by her vitality and personality. But as sombre as it was, they wore the bright clothes Elena's family had asked them to

Many were still struggling to take in that someone who'd given so much should be cut fown in the prime of her life by cancer

Among the mourners, a who's who of British tennis past and present. Tim Henman, Jeremy Bates, Annabel Croft, Laura Robson, and Jo Durie.

Tim Henman Credit: PA

There have been tributes from around the world but the loss of Elena Baltacha is most keenly felt here in her home town of Ipswich where she did so much to inspire youngsters - often from under privileged backgrounds to pick up a racquet for the first time and play tennis.

Judy Murray (centre) Credit: PA

Judy Murray - who'd worked with Elena in British federation cup matches, supported her family at this afternoon's service.

esterday in Ipswich more than 70 children took part in sessions with Judy and British number one Laura Robson. It was all organised by the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, set up in her memory.

We want to make sure she's remembered and we want to make sure the academy goes from strength to strength. We know she wanted to grow it into having it's own home.

She was so popular and so well respected that I think it will being in a lot of funds that will allow is to make the academy sustainable for a very long time.

– Judy Murray

For the last two or three years since the time she's been setting it up she's been so passionate about the whole thing and it's just such a shame that she's not here to witness how amazing today is.

– Laura Robson

Her family asked for those at the funeral for donations to the Royal Marsden Hospital ()and the Elena Baltacha Tennis Academy - so ensuring that something positive will come out of what has been dreadful loss both for sport and for Suffolk.