NINO Severino revealed that over 60 new girls will be joining Elena Baltacha’s Academy of Tennis (EBAT) on Monday.

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Baltacha’s coach revealed the news as the Suffolk Closed Tennis Championships saw a noticeable increase in female participation, especially at Mini-Tennis level.

The Academy currently has 14 members, including nationally-ranked Russian-born Sofiya Khalyaeva, but that figure will rise dramatically to 75 following a successful recruitment drive around seven schools in Ipswich and the surrounding area.

Severino is delighted with the Academy’s pulling power and was also proud of the Baltacha Academy’s participation at this week’s tournament at Ipswich Sports Club.

“We had the highest percentage of girls for an academy of our’s size enter the Suffolk Closed Championship,” said Severino.

“It was a really great showing from the girls, considering many are from deprived areas and considering the arguments that say that parents from such areas don’t support their children.

“They always make sure that their kids go to every tournament and the girls are reaping the rewards of their experiences.”

Baltacha is currently taking time away from the tennis court and will undergo ankle surgery before deciding whether or not to make a return to the ladies’ circuit.

The 28-year-old has already mooted that her return may not be so cut and dry, especially as the academy grows at such a pace. Coaching may be the way forward for the Ukranian-born Brit, who will be expanding her workforce to cope with the number of new recruits.

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