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Elena Baltacha Passes Away at Age 30

Elena Baltacha, of Britain, returns a shot to Arantxa Rus, of the Netherlands, at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, March 7, 2012, in Indian Wells, Calif. Baltacha won 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IMay 4, 2014

Former British No. 1 overall player Elena Baltacha passed away on Sunday after a battle with liver cancer. She was 30 years old.       

BBC Sport reported the news via Twitter Sunday evening:

Baltacha held the No. 1 position in the United Kingdom intermittently from 2002 through 2012, before ultimately retiring in 2013.

During her career, the Briton reached as high as No. 49 in the singles rankings in 2010 and won 11 separate ITF titles. While she never won a Grand Slam during her career, Baltacha reached the third round of both Wimbledon (2002) and the Australian Open (2005, 2010).

Shuji Kajiyama/Associated Press

John Greechan of the Scottish Daily Mail passed along his condolences after hearing of Baltacha's death:

British Tennis also commented on Baltacha's passing:

Baltacha didn't go down without a fight, though. She had plenty of players supporting her throughout the battle, along with British Tennis, which planned to hold a rally event for the former player in June, per the WTA:

The Rally for Bally event will now be held in honor of Baltacha, per Romi Cvitkovic of Tennis View Magazine:

While the loss of Baltacha is extremely sad news for the tennis community, her family and loved ones, British tennis is no doubt in a good place thanks to players like her and the success she had in her career.

Andy Murray has become the face of British tennis in the last few years with two Grand Slam titles, including the 2013 Wimbledon win. One of Baltacha's final tweets before her passing was about Murray:

As tough as Baltacha's death is to understand at such a young age, the tennis community, and Great Britain in particular, will surely rally around the once great player. Thanks to events like the Rally for Bally by the WTA, tennis players and fans can continue to honor Baltacha for her greatness on the court.


Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.

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