BALTACHA Elena < Back  
Sport Tennis
CGA Scotland   
Gender Women
Born 14 Aug 1983 in Kiev, URS
Height1.75 m
Weight 70 kg
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Residence Ipswich, ENG
Occupation Athlete
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? She began playing short tennis at the age of six and then moved onto tennis at the age of 10.
Name of coach Nino Severino
Preferred position / style / stance / technique Double-handed backhand
Handedness Right
International Debut
Year 2002
Competing for Great Britain
General Interest
Nicknames Bally. (streetgames.org, 05 Mar 2012)
Hobbies Reading, listening to music, dancing, going to the cinema, meeting up with friends, shopping. (elena-baltacha.com, 16 Sep 2010)
Memorable sporting achievement "I've had a couple. Beating Li Na, my first top-10 victory, was special. As was defeating Francesca Schiavone, the year she won in Paris. And breaking into the top 50." (dailymail.co.uk, 22 Jun 2012)
Hero / Idol Her dad. (dailymail.co.uk, 22 Jun 2012)
Injuries She has overcome a career-threatening liver condition which affects the amount of practice she can do. She also had a chronic back injury that required surgery. (streetgames.org, 05 Mar 2012)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs "I always wear a black hair bobble. I can't have any other colour because I'm convinced that I'll play rubbish with it. Secondly, when I receive balls from the ball kids, it always has to be from the left." (dailymail.co.uk, 22 Jun 2012)
Sporting philosophy / motto "Don't waste this. You are young and you think this will go on for ever. It won't. So don't waste it or you will have regrets." (dailymail.co.uk, 22 Jun 2012)
Awards and honours She was named 2001 LTA Junior Player of the Year. (sonyericssonwtatour.com, 16 Sep 2010)

She carried the Olympic Torch through St. Peters in Kent on its journey around Britain. (bbc.co.uk, 27 May 2012)
Famous relatives Her father Sergei was a professional footballer who played in Scotland and represented the USSR at the 1982 World Cup in Spain and won bronze at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Her mother Olga was pentathlete but couldn't compete at the 1980 Games as there was no one else to look after her son, Sergei Jnr. Her brother was also a professional footballer who played for Scottish club St Mirren for five years. (elena-baltacha.com, 14 Sep 2010; scotsman.com, 10 Jun 2012)
Ambitions To compete at the Olympic Games in London. (bbc.co.uk, 27 May 2012)
Other information LONDON OLYMPICS
She was sweating on her participation in the 2012 Olympic Games, hoping the Lawn Tennis Association would be granted two wildcards for the draw. With no British woman qualifying automatically through their world ranking, the British number two could have missed out but was told she had made the squad by Federation Cup team captain, Judy Murray, just after progressing to the second round at Wimbledon. "I'm glad no one told me before because I would have been all over the place. It was just amazing news. I was quite emotional anyway to have won that match. Then I went straight over to my team and Judy leant over and said: 'I've got another [piece of] really good news for you. You have been given a spot at the Olympics.' That was it. Tears were going everywhere. Same with Judy." (bbc.co.uk, 15 Jun 2012, guardian.co.uk, 26 Jun 2012)

ACADEMY
She has founded the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis in Ipswich where she lives to give girls who might never have got the chance to play the game an opportunity to see if they enjoy it. "Last October I took the girls from my academy to Wimbledon as a special treat. They are from primary schools in deprived areas of Ipswich and some of them had not picked up a tennis racquet until we started working with them. I'm really proud of how well they've done and it was fantastic to see the look on their faces as they took their first look at Centre Court. It was very inspiring to see how excited the girls were." (bbc.co.uk, 22 Jun 2012)

RETIREMENT
In 2011, she said she may quit the game after London 2012 although she has changed her mind since then. She said, "I just go week by week now. I remember before, I said last year, yeah, you know, after the Olympics. But do you know if I'm fit, if I'm healthy, then I don't know. All I'm doing, I'm just going on a week to week basis how I'm feeling, how I'm training, and that's actually when I will decide is just what happens. That's it. That's how I'm going on right now." (wimbledon.com, 25 Jun 2012)