Elena Baltacha’s Olympic hopes hang by a thread

Her Olympic dream may be hanging by a thread but Elena Baltacha is remaining positive as she today begins her grass court season at the AEGON Trophy in Nottingham.

The 28-year-old’s disappointing first round defeat to Sam Stosur in the French Open last week saw the Ipswich-based player fail to retain her status as Britain’s number one female and left her hopes of qualifying for London in jeopardy.

Baltacha is likely to drop below the expected Olympic cut-off point of 65 in the world - but the 43 consecutive victories she has accrued in the Fed Cup could persuade Olympic officials to award her one of six available wildcard entries.

The Great Britain Fed Cup captain admitted having made tweaks and additions to her game and believes that, along with some tough draws, may have contributed to a challenging period in her career

However, Baltacha insists adding more strings to her bow was crucial and is confident her hard work will pay off in the long term.

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“It has not been a great year but I have had to add to my game as I don’t want to be one-dimensional,” said Baltacha.

“I have been working on a couple of areas, such as changing my serve and coming forward more. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to put that into my matches.

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“But I would do it all again and the last two years have been amazing. I have been in the top 50 twice but my game had to develop.

“I have probably not always had the luck of the draw, there has been the odd injury niggle, and it has not been fantastic in terms of results recently but I am still very positive and I am improving in training every day.

“Tennis is all about momentum and I have not quite been able to get that this season but my time will come and I always believe that you get out of the game what you put in.”

Baltacha faces a busy couple of months and will move on to Birmingham and then Eastbourne, before Wimbledon which starts three weeks today and then hopefully the Olympics, also being held at SW19.

“I travel so much that the grass season comes at a good time and even though I will not be based in Ipswich, I will be at home,” said Baltacha, who will be seeded five in Nottingham.

“I look forward to all the tournaments and Wimbledon is a very special Grand Slam and playing in front of my home crowd is even sweeter.

“But I absolutely love playing at Nottingham and I have always enjoyed playing there, it’s a great surface and it suits my game.

“If I get a good draw you never know but I don’t want to say I am going to do this or I am going to do that. I’ll just do the best I can.”

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