Tennis star Elena Baltacha dies of liver cancer, aged 30

Former British tennis number one Elena Baltacha has died of liver cancer, aged 30, her family have announced.

Martina Navratilova: Elena Baltacha 'fought to the end'

Nine-time winner of Wimbledon Martina Navratilova, who also previously suffered from cancer, has paid tribute to Elena Baltacha, saying she fought "to the end" but "sometimes cancer wins".

Former tennis player Martina Navratilova. Credit: Friso Gentsch/dpa

She said: "Elena Baltacha was a great fighter on the tennis court.

"We as tennis players always worry about our bodies, trying to keep injuries at bay. But cancer - you can't prevent that and you can't rehab it either and no matter how much of a fighter you are, sometimes cancer wins.

"Elena was taken from the world much too soon - fighting to the end and we will miss her."

Tennis world pays tribute to 'our lovely Bally'

The tennis world, including British number three Heather Watson, has paid tribute to the "lovely" Elena Baltacha, who died from liver cancer aged 30.

Watson, former US tennis star Billie Jean King and ex-men's head coach at the Lawn Tennis Association Paul Annacone tweeted:

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We've lost our lovely Bally, too young. Rest in peace. My thought are with Nino and all of her family xx

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Saddened to hear about Elena Baltacha's passing. My fondest memory w/Bally was sharing a wonderful chat when we met the Queen at @wimbledon

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Absolutely heartbreaking news- to hear about Elena Baltacha . Bally, you will be sorely missed

Read: British number one pays tribute to Elena Baltacha

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UK sports stars pay tribute to Baltacha's 'fighting spirit'

Former British athletes have paid tribute to tennis star Elena Baltacha, who died of liver cancer aged 30.

Ex-tennis star Annabel Croft, Olympian Sir Chris Hoy and former swimmer Sharron Davies tweeted:

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Just woken up to the sad news about Elena Baltacha passing away - We won't forget her fighting spirit .Far too young.

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Such sad news about Elena Baltacha. My thoughts go out to her family and friends.

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Rest in Peace Elena Baltacha...such very sad news, so much more to give....Her family & friends in our Thoughts.

Read: British number one pays tribute to Elena Baltacha

'Rally for Bally' to be held in honour of tennis star

Great Britain's Elena Baltacha in action against Italy's Flavia Pennetta during day one of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships. Credit: John Walton/PA Archive

An all-star line up of fundraising exhibition matches for a Rally Against Cancer charity even will take place next month in honour of British tennis star Elena Baltacha.

Her childhood friend Andy Murray had committed to play in the event along with the likes of Martina Navratilova, and Tim Henman, and the money raised will go to the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Her agent and friend Eleanor Preston said the fundraiser next month will be an opportunity to celebrate everything the tennis star achieved.

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Elena Baltacha: 'A shining light at heart of British tennis'

Great Britain's Elena Baltacha in action against Italy's Flavia Pennetta in 2013. Credit: EMPICS Sport/

British tennis has lost "a shining light" following the death of former women's number one Elena Baltacha at the age of 30, the Lawn Tennis Association has said.

The sports star was diagnosed with the illness in January, just two months after retiring from tennis and only weeks after she married her long-time coach Nino Severino.

The Lawn Tennis Association's head of women's tennis Iain Bates said in a statement: "Today we have lost a shining light from the heart of British tennis - a true role model, a great competitor and a wonderful friend.

We have so many special memories to cherish, but this leaves a gaping hole for everybody in both British and women's tennis, and words simply cannot express how saddened we are by this news."

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Elena Baltacha dies of liver cancer

Elena Baltacha attends a training session before the start of the London 2012 Olympics Credit: Reuters

Former British tennis number one Elena Baltacha has died of liver cancer, aged 30, her family have announced.

Baltacha was British number one for nearly three years, only retired from the sport in 2013 and was diagnosed with a rare liver condition when she was 19.

She managed the condition throughout her career with medication and regular blood tests and went on to win 11 singles titles.

More: UK tennis stars support Baltacha's cancer fight