max temp: 13°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Gallery: British tennis stars including Laura Robson ensure Elena Baltacha’s legacy lives on

10:56 19 May 2014

Nino Severino is organising a tribute day, ahead of Elena Baltacha

Nino Severino is organising a tribute day, ahead of Elena Baltacha's funeral, at Rushmere Sports Centre. Laura Robson at the day.

Leading figures in British tennis gathered at a Suffolk sports centre yesterday to pay tribute to Elena Baltacha and the sporting legacy she worked so selflessly to create.


Dozens of children who had been coached and inspired by the former British number one took part in training sessions led by Federation Cup team captain Judy Murray and Iain Bates, head of British women’s tennis, and Olympic medalist Laura Robson.

Held at the Rushmere Sports Centre, where the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis (EBAT) introduced hundreds of young players to the game, yesterday’s event was described as a “special legacy for a special person”.

The event, organised by Ms Baltacha’s husband Nino Severino in advance of her funeral today, was also attended by Davis Cup captain Leon Smith and former top 50 ranked player Anne Keothavong, a friend and rival of the Ipswich-based player, known by all as Bally.

Ms Murray, the mother of Andy Murray, who coached Ms Baltacha as a junior player, said the event’s success was testimony to her popular reputation.

“I think today has shown now much everybody thought of her, loved her and admired her,” she said.

“For all of us the important thing is to ensure that the academy survives and thrives and that it leaves a very special legacy for a very special person.”

Mr Bates was also encouraged by those who turned out at the event to pay their respects.

“It’s been an absolutely fantastic day,” he said. “We’ve got a whole group of kids who were inspired by Bally to take up tennis and they’re all here having fun with some great training exercises.

“There were so many people who were close to Bally during her life and everyone is giving something back to the sport, which is great to see.”

Ms Baltacha’s death from liver cancer on Sunday, May 4, at the age of 30, was met with an outpouring of grief from across the tennis world and beyond.

Eleanor Preston, Ms Baltacha’s manager and friend, said the response had been “incredibly touching and moving”.

“This is all about the British tennis 
community, the people who were in her life, professionally and personally, pulling together to continue the work that 
she started at the academy,” she said.

“It’s about helping to build her legacy and to remain true to her original idea to help kids from all background play tennis and have their lives enriched by sport.”

The fundraising appeal in Ms Baltacha’s memory has raised almost £30,000 for the EBAT and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

To donate to the cause visit the Just Giving site.



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Police closed Felixstowe Road, Ipswich.

A man has been taken to hospital after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a van.

Travellers in Jaywick.

A group of travellers today returned to a site they had previously camped on in Jaywick - but were stopped in their tracks.

The large scale police operation in Potash Road, Wyverstone.

A village stalwart and chairman of a Suffolk parish council hid hundreds of illegal guns in a secret room at his house, a court heard.

The ice skating rink currently being installed in the Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds

Limited parking capacity in Bury St Edmunds is set to be boosted by 420 extra spaces over the festive period after local brewer Greene King offered free use of its staff car park at weekends.

Kujtin Rexha was jailed for 11 years at Chelmsford Crown Court

Braintree man Kujtin Rexha has been jailed for 11 years for rape and holding a 17-year-old girl against her will for two and a half months.

Ben Wilson, 20, set fire to the Braintree Emergency Night Shelter in Braintree High Street in February

A man who set fire to a homeless hostel in Braintree, which forced a resident to jump naked from a second floor window, has been jailed for five years.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24