Today the world of Tennis mourns the death of Scottish player Elena Baltacha, who died at age 30 of liver cancer. Though maybe not known globally tributes have come in from Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King.
One of the sad things about Eleana, or Bally as she was known, as player, that a year after bursting onto the scene as an 18-year-old girl who beat a top 3 player at Wimbledon, Elena was already struck down by a serious liver complaint that would have finshed many a young player. So though illness and injury hampered her potential to become a truely world class player,the fact she was still able to be British Number One and to reach a ranking of 49 in the world was an achievement in itself.
Last year she retired and married her coach,2 months before being diagnosed with the illness. In her career she won 11 ranked titles. Eleana was the daughter of former Russia International footballer Sergei Pavlovich Baltacha, who played in both England and Scotland.
I'm reminded of another well known Scottish tennis player from the 70s, Winnie Shaw, who reached the mixed and ladies double's finals of The French Open, who died in her 40s.
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