Elena Baltacha, Ex-No. 1 U.K. Women’s Tennis Player, Dies at 30

Tennis Player Elena Baltacha
Elena Baltacha of Great Britain returns a shot during the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, on August 30, 2011. Photographer: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Elena Baltacha, Britain’s former top women’s tennis player, died from liver cancer, the WTA tour said. She was 30.

Baltacha, whose career was hampered by a chronic liver condition, died yesterday surrounded by friends and family, the tour said on its website.

Baltacha announced her retirement from professional tennis in November and married her coach, Nino Severino, a few weeks later. She was diagnosed with cancer in January, the WTA said.

“Elena’s journey was never an easy one and yet she consistently showed her strength, good humor and indomitable spirit,” said Stacey Allaster, chief executive officer of the women’s tour.

Baltacha won 11 singles tournaments, broke into the top 50 in 2010 and represented Great Britain for more than a decade.

She was born in Ukraine and raised in the U.K. Her father played soccer for Dynamo Kiev and for teams in England and Scotland, and her mother was a Russian athlete.

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