Don’t write Brits off, says Wimbledon-bound Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha - Credit: Archant

Elena Baltacha has defended Great Britain’s top female players as she prepares to face Italy’s Flavia Pennetta in the first round at Wimbledon, today.

The 29-year-old Ipswich-based player hopes to better the third round stage she made in 2002, and heads to SW19 buoyed by her recent title win at the AEGON Nottingham Challenge.

The Fed Cup star joins the likes of Heather Watson, who faces the USA’s Madison Keys, and Laura Robson, who takes on 2012 quarter-finalist, Maria Kirilenko. Watson reached the third round at the All-England Club last year, while Robson has reached the second round.

“I am looking forward to an exciting week, hopefully two,” said the Ukraine-born Scot, who received a wildcard for Wimbledon.

“A lot of people look at Wimbledon and think that if the British players don’t do anything there, then they are complete failures.

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“That is not the case and people have got to get out of that mindset.”

Baltacha says fans flocking to SW19 tomorrow will see a player approaching the top of her game.

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“I think fans will see a different player, yes. I am not the complete player yet but I am going to keep chipping away at my game,” said the daughter of former Ipswich Town star, Sergei.

“The aim was to return from injury and play good tennis, so to win in Nottingham, after receiving a wildcard for Wimbledon, was massive for me.

“I have worked so hard with my coach Nino Severino, while it was a brilliant decision to bring in Louis Cayer too.

“We have not changed my game but we have added things and everything is beginning to fall into place.

“It’s easy to do it in practice, but having the confidence to make the changes in a competitive game is another thing.”

Baltacha has battled back from ankle surgery to receive her place at the world-famous tournament and is looking forward to returning to south London.

“It’s (Wimbledon) a very special place and I think this is going to be my 12th year which is quite scary and means I am getting old,” she joked.

“Nottingham was amazing and playing at Eastbourne (Aegon Classic) was unbelievable with the support I received. I can’t wait to get going at Wimbledon.”

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