Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 6°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Gallery: Rally for Bally unites tennis stars past and present in memory of Elena Baltacha

22:50 15 June 2014

Rally For Bally: Judy Murray tweeted this picture of the ball kids at Eastbourne

Rally For Bally: Judy Murray tweeted this picture of the ball kids at Eastbourne

Archant

Tennis stars of the past and present paid tribute to Elena Baltacha at a series of charity fundraisers held across the nation today.

shares

Tim Henman, Andy Murray and Anne Keothavon, were among those taking part in the Rally for Bally, held in memory of the former British number one, who was based in Ipswich until her recent death from liver cancer, aged 30.

Before the event, Nino Severino, Ms Baltacha’s widower and former coach, told the BBC he spent “every second” with his wife during her “brutal” fight against liver cancer.

Baltacha retired last November, married Severino and was diagnosed with cancer in January, before passing away in May.

“In all the time I spent with Bally, this is what really showed what a person she was,” Mr Severino said.

“She never once, through the whole ordeal, ever complained.

“She said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to everybody, treated everyone with respect. She always put my feelings first before hers, never wanted me to be upset.

“I literally spent every second with Bal fighting all the way. It was horrendous cancer that she had, the worst you can get, in the liver. The fight was brutal.”

Other stars who took part in the Rally For Bally events in London, Birmingham and Eastbourne, included Martina Navratilova, Laura Robson and Greg Rusedski.

Ms Navratilova, who has also battle cancer, said: “This match is a bitter-sweet experience. We love this sport so much, which is why we came together, but life really stinks sometimes.

“It stinks that this is why we’re getting together to play but the legacy will live on and that’s the main thing. There’ll be plenty of kids that will benefit from this much premature death of Elena.

“Out of tragedy comes something good and we’ll make sure this isn’t a one-off. I’d like to make this into an annual event and keep it going because she deserves that and the kids deserve it.”

British Fed Cup team captain Judy Murray, who coached Ms Baltacha as a junior, has been a strong supporter of the rallies, which have raised funds for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and The Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.

“It’s a very special day,” she said.

“Having one event at three venues in her honour is a big thing.

“The calibre and number of players who’ve come to support it is quite remarkable and I think that’s just a sign of how highly she was regarded across the tennis world.

“Everybody remembers her spirit, maybe not everybody knew her quite so well as a person, how humble and kind and generous and funny she was. But as a competitor everybody respected her incredible fighting spirit.

“Everybody knows about the academy now and how much she wanted to give back to the game and how much she wanted to try to grow the game and create opportunities for kids who wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to play tennis.

“Those funds will be very well used to support the academy for many years, to make sure it goes from strength to strength and that we all remember her.”

To donate to the campaign visit: www.justgiving.com/rallyforbally

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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

Tommy Smith celebrates after Wolves' defender Richard Stearman had headed an own goal under his pressure during the first half. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town have one foot in the door, all they need to do now is step through and shut it behind them.

Jonny Williams suffers injury against Watford

On-loan Ipswich Town midfielder Jonny Williams was withdrawn as a precaution, a minute before the interval, in the Blues under-21s’ 3-2 home defeat to Bristol City on Monday.

TALENTED GOLFER: Chris Reynolds, who died on Sunday morning. The talented Rookery Park Golf Club member, from Lowestoft, is pictured in September last year after winning the club’s Warner Cup/Poppy Appeal competition.

Tributes to a 21-year-old Ipswich Town fan who died at the weekend are set to be paid in a minute’s applause at Portman Road on Saturday.

Mick McCarthy shakes hands with Wolves counterpart Kenny Jackett. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says he laughs at those who continue to look down their nose at the way his side go about their business.

Town fans at Wolves on Saturday for the early kick-off

Hundreds of Town fans made the trip to Wolverhampton yesterday to roar on the Blues as they took another step towards the play-offs – can you spot yourself or anyone you know in our fans gallery?

Chrisophe Berra stays very close to Nouha Dicko. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Wolves v Ipswich: Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says securing a Championship play-off place is his side’s to ‘big up or screw up’ following his afternoon’s valuable 1-1 draw at promotion rivals Wolves.

Tommy Smith celebrates after Wolves' defender Richard Stearman had headed in an own goal. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Wolves v Ipswich: Ipswich Town maintained their three-point cushion over play-off rivals Wolves thanks to a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Molineux this lunch-time.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: Andrew Patridge

Mick McCarthy admits he misses the Premier League spotlight.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has challenged his team to put Wolves out of the Championship promotion pack with victory in tomorrow’s televised clash at Molineux (12.15pm).

Ipswich Town winger Stephen Hunt. Photo: James Ager

Stephen Hunt made his first Ipswich Town start in more than two months on Tuesday night. STUART WATSON spoke to the Irishman about his contract, goal premonitions and banging on Mick McCarthy’s door.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages