Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 2°C

min temp: -1°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.

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

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

Mick McCarthy walks off the pitch at Sincil Bank last night

This morning, in the wake of the most humiliating night in Ipswich Town’s history, we ask - is it time for boss Mick McCarthy to go?

An unhappy Mick McCarthy at Sincil Bank

Ipswich Town managing director Ian Milne has urged disgruntled Blues fans to stick with manager Mick McCarthy, following the embarrassing 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Lincoln City last night.

An unhappy Mick McCarthy at Sincil Bank

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admitted he was ‘embarrassed’ after his team were dumped out of the FA Cup by non-league side Lincoln City tonight.

The Town players come off the pitch after the defeat at Sincil Bank

Nathan Arnold scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner as non-league Lincoln City sent Ipswich Town crashing out of the FA Cup in embarrassing fashion.

Mick McCarthy is exasperated on the touchline during the original FA Cup tie against Lincoln City

It’s a game Mick McCarthy probably didn’t want, but nevertheless the Blues are playing Lincoln for the second time this month in tonight’s FA Cup third round replay.

Jordan Spence holds off Freddie Sears at Stadium MK

Jordan Spence says fitness won’t be a problem as he embarks on a new chapter of his career with Ipswich Town.

New ITFC signing Kieffer Moore. Photo: Gregg Brown

Ipswich Town new boy Kieffer Moore is determined to take his second chance in the Championship with both hands.

Adam Webster holds off Lincoln City striker Matt Rhead

Ipswich Town take on non-league side Lincoln City in an FA Cup Third Round replay, at Sincil Bank, this evening.

Tom Lawrence has been in red hot form for Ipswich

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says there is no point him even asking how much Leicester City would want for Tom Lawrence.

Trialist right-back Jordan Spence (right) challenges Ovie Ejaria for possession

Ipswich Town have signed right-back Jordan Spence on a deal until the end of the season.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24