Elena confident her best is yet to come

ELENA Baltacha today said she is confident that the best tennis of her career is yet to come following yesterday's second round exit at Wimbledon.Following her rollercoaster straight set defeat to China's Zheng Jie on Court Two, the 24 year-old paid tribute to her Ipswich-based fitness coach Nino Severino in her return to prominence.

Stuart Watson

ELENA Baltacha today said she is confident that the best tennis of her career is yet to come following yesterday's second round exit at Wimbledon.

Following her rollercoaster straight set defeat to China's Zheng Jie on Court Two, the 24 year-old paid tribute to her Ipswich-based fitness coach Nino Severino in her return to prominence.

Long-term back problems and a recently diagnosed liver problem have led to lengthy lay-offs and a slide down the world rankings over the last couple of years but Baltacha believes that now - thanks to her work at Ipswich Sports Club with strength and conditioning specialist Severino - she is now finally ready to make a concerted assault on making the world's top 100 rankings.


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The wild-card entrant said: “I've been struggling for quite a few months with my back, but the last few days have been unbelievable.

“I haven't had any problems and it's been such a relief.

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“Nino has been fantastic to work with. Thanks to my work with him I feel really strong now and hopefully can get a good injury free run at things.

“Tennis-wise I know I am good enough to progress up the rankings. I have got all the big weapons, it's just about making them more consistent on a week to week basis now.

“There is still a lot of work to do, but the most exciting thing about this week has been that I know I haven't reached my peak yet.”

Baltacha, who spent part of her childhood in Suffolk after her Ukrainian-born father Sergei left Dynamo Kiev to sign for Ipswich Town in 1989, is now ranked 158 in singles and hopes to surpass her career high of 118 reached in 2005.

Following her first emotional first round, three set victory on Monday, Baltacha struggled to find form in round two.

The first set started in nightmare fashion, Baltacha falling 4-0 behind and, despite winning the next two games, lost 6-2.

The second set proved far stronger for the Brit but at 5-4 and serving for the set she passed up two set points to be broken.

It proved a huge blow and Baltacha went on to lose the next two games and the match.

The frustrating defeat meant that the London-based Baltacha misses out on a third round showdown with number one seed Ana Ivanovic.

“I just think that it wasn't my day,” she said. “It was such a rollercoaster, it was unbelievable.”

Baltacha admitted committing a string of “stupid errors” compared to Zheng, who was superior in terms of consistency.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match and I knew I was going to have to play my best tennis to beat her today, which I didn't.

“It's very disappointing.”

However, Baltacha said through the fitness work she was doing she hopes to be a top 100 player by next year.

Her next tournament is in Stamford and she plans to spend two months playing the tournaments in the lead-up to the US Open in the hope of winning a place.

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