Elena Baltacha relishing challenge to reclaim number one spot

Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha - Credit: PA WIRE

Elena Baltacha has not ruled out wrestling back her British number one crown, after battling back from adversity.

The 30-year-old narrowly missed out on qualification for the US Open last week, going down to Maria Sharapova’s Wimbledon conqueror, Larcher De’Brito, in the final eliminator, despite being a set and 5-4 up, serving for the match.

Baltacha is currently ranked 243rd in the world and, at the moment, is around 20 places off making the qualifying stage for January’s Australian Open.

The Ipswich-based Scot has also dropped to sixth in the British women’s rankings, behind the likes of world number 32 Laura Robson, Heather Watson, Johanna Konta and Samantha Murray.

However, following successful ankle surgery and a swift rehabilitation, Baltacha is fighting fit again.

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“I don’t know how realistic it is, but you have got to have goals and it would be unbelievable if I could get back to number one,” said Baltacha, who held the title for long periods between 2002 and 2012 and has had a career-best world ranking of 49.

“To be British number one you have to be in the top-30, maybe even 20 in the world now, so it is a big challenge for me.

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“It’s important to have something to focus on and something to try and achieve, so why not?

Since returning to action in April, Baltacha has won the AEGON Nottingham Challenge and defeated 2009 US Open quarter-finalist Melanie Oudine in qualifying for this year’s tournament before suffering heartache at the hands of De’Brito

“It was a real shame that I missed out at the US Open and I was pretty upset after losing to De’Brito at the time,” added Baltacha.

“But I have got back into the swing of things a lot quicker than I thought and when I look back at everything that has happened since making my comeback, it’s been brilliant.

“I will now hopefully play in a few more tournaments in Europe before my pre-season and then look ahead to the New Year and my goal of reaching Australian Open qualifying.”

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