Ipswich player wins top tennis award

TENNIS: Ipswich-based British number one Elena Baltacha was presented with the 2010 Services to Tennis award by the Lawn Tennis Writers Association at its annual awards evening.

Baltacha’s accomplishments included breaking into the top 50 world rankings, three wins over top 10 players and setting up the Elena Baltacha Tennis Academy for disadvantaged girls in Ipswich.

The 27-year-old daughter of former Ipswich Town star Sergei enjoyed the best season of her career.

She was diagnosed with the liver condition primary schlerosing cholangitis at the age of 19 and is patron of the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. She is coached and accompanied to events by Ipswich-based Nino Severino.

“It’s an honour to get this award and its extra special to be recognised by the tennis media because they are the eyes and ears of the sport,” Baltacha said.

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“This has been a fantastic year for me but I feel like there is a lot more to come.

“I’ve been working hard in the off-season and I’m ready to try and improve in 2011.”

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David Luddy, who is chairman of the LTWA, said: “Bally thoroughly deserves this prestigious award.

“To be ranked around the world’s top 50 - and still improving - after battling through years of illness is sensational.

“Her determination, her positive approach and her consistent belief is an inspiration to all of us from club to professional level.”

Baltacha accepted her award at the organisation’s annual lunch at The All England Club, Wimbledon and was presented with her trophy by Virginia Wade.

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