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LTA to honour Balatcha at Nottingham

Elena Balatcha died on liver cancer. Credit: PA

The inaugural winner of this year's Aegon Open Nottingham WTA event will be presented with 'The Elena Baltacha Trophy', named in memory of the former British number one.

Baltacha died of liver cancer one year ago today at the age of 30, having been diagnosed with the illness in January of that year - just two months after retiring from tennis and only weeks after marrying her long-time coach Nino Severino.

Baltacha won her 11th and final ITF Women's Circuit title at Nottingham 2013, and the Lawn Tennis Association has marked the one-year anniversary of her death by announcing that a newly-commissioned trophy bearing her name will be awarded to the winner of next month's WTA tournament in the city.

Wimbledon pays tribute to Baltacha with coin toss

Wimbledon will honour the late tennis player Elena Baltacha with a special coin toss ahead of the opening match between last year's runner-up, Sabine Lisicki, and Julia Glushko.

Ladies' Singles champion Marion Bartoli, who has recently retired, will be accompanied by a young player from the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis for the special ceremony.

Great Britain's Elena Baltacha with the trophy after winning the AEGON Nottingham Challenge. Credit: PA

Nine-year-old Elle Robus-Miller is a player at the Ipswich-based academy which was set up by the late athlete to give children from all backgrounds the opportunity to play tennis.

Baltacha died from liver cancer aged 30, less than six months after marrying her former coach, Nino Severino, and weeks after retiring from tennis.

Her career saw her ranked as the British number one for 132 weeks, from December 2009 to June 2012, and saw her represent Great Britain for 11 years in the Fed Cup.


Andy Murray pays touching tribute to Elena Baltacha

Andy Murray has paid a touching tribute to his friend Elena Baltacha, the former British tennis No. 1 who died of liver cancer.

Playing in his first match since her death on Sunday, Murray added 30-year-old Baltacha's nickname "Bally" with a heart and a kiss to an autograph as he stepped off the court at the Madrid Masters.

Andy Murray paid tribute to his late friend Elena Baltacha after today's match at the Madrid Masters. Credit: REUTER/Susana Vera

Murray also appeared to sign the lens of a courtside camera after beating Spain's Nicolas Almagro to reach the third round of the tournament.

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:

Ed Miliband: 'Terribly sad news about Elena Baltacha'

Labour leader Ed Miliband has paid tribute to Elena Baltacha, who died from liver cancer aged 30.


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:

'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.

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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