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Tennis' biggest names step on court in memory of Ipswich's Elena Baltacha

Elana Baltacha died in May, aged 30 Credit: PA

Some of the country's biggest names in tennis will take to the courts this weekend to raise money in memory of Elena Baltacha.

The former women's British number one, who was based in Ipswich, died of liver cancer in May at the age of 30. Players including Andy Murray and Tim Henman will be among the stars taking part around the country, including at Queen's in London and the Aegon International in Eastbourne.


"She was one in a million. An absolute gem," says Judy Murray of friend Elena Baltacha

Judy Murray has paid tribute to Elena Baltacha. Credit: Andrew Matthews/Press Association Images

Elena Baltacha was "one in a million" and "an absolute gem", according to Judy Murray.

The tennis coach first knew the player known as Bally as a junior in Scotland.

Baltacha, who 30, died on Sunday, just six months after retiring from the game. She was diagnosed with liver cancer in January.

She and Mrs Murray remained close and worked together in recent years through Murray's role as captain of Great Britain's Fed Cup team.

Murray, who is mother to Wimbledon champion Andy and doubles player Jamie, was also a patron of Baltacha's academy in Ipswich.

In a statement she said: "I don't have the words to say what an incredible person Bally was, how loved she was or what an inspiration she will continue to be to everyone who met her.

"This is an awful loss for tennis, for all of us who knew and loved her but most of all for Nino and her family. My thoughts are, of course, with them.

"She was one in a million. An absolute gem."


Twitter tributes to Elena Baltacha

Tributes paid to 'shining light' Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha died on Sunday morning Credit: PA

Tributes are being paid to Elena Baltacha who died of liver cancer on Sunday, aged 30.

Based in Suffolk, she was the former British number one, but announced her retirement last year due to a long-standing ankle problem.

She was diagnosed with liver cancer in January this year.

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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