Elena Baltacha Diagnosed with Liver Cancer

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IMarch 7, 2014

Former British number one Elena Baltacha has been diagnosed with cancer of the liver.
Former British number one Elena Baltacha has been diagnosed with cancer of the liver.Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

It's been revealed that former British number one tennis player Elena Baltacha has been diagnosed with cancer of the liver.

BBC Sport were the first to break the sad news, which will send shockwaves through the sport.

Baltacha herself commented via the LTA official website:

"I have recently been diagnosed with cancer of the liver. I'm currently undergoing treatment and fighting this illness with everything I have." 

Mike Dickson of the Daily Mail revealed his own sense of shock via his Twitter account.

And he also noted what a privilege it had been to report on her career.

Aged just 30, Baltacha was always popular in the locker room and on the tennis circuit, but this isn't the first time she has encountered health problems.

11 years ago, the naturalised Scot was diagnosed with the liver condition primary sclerosing cholangitis and as a result became patron, in June 2010, of the Children's Liver Disease Foundation. 

Back in 2011, Martyn Halle of the Daily Mail described Baltacha's liver as "in worse shape than George Best's."

As her health deteriorated, so did her form.

The number one ranking she held for 10 years between 2002-2012 is now a distant memory. Persistent knee injuries have also played a part in a slip down to as low as 212 in the world rankings. She retired in 2013, citing those same injuries and illnesses, according to the BBC

Judy Murray, Captain of the Aegon GB Fed Cup Team is looking at the positives (per lta.com):

Obviously this is a tough time for Bally, Nino and her family but she is a such a determined, upbeat person and everyone around her is staying positive as well.

I know she'll be really grateful for all the support that she's getting.

It is that determination which will be needed for the biggest fight of her life.

 

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