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."

More: Elena Baltacha dies of liver cancer

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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.