Devonshire Park favourite Baltacha loses cancer battle

Elena Baltacha at Devonshire Park
Elena Baltacha at Devonshire Park

Eastbourne-favourite Elena Baltacha lost her battle to liver cancer at the age of 30 (writes Glen Durrant).

The Ukrainian-born tennis star, raised in Scotland, was diagnosed with the illness in mid-January of this year, two months after retiring from professional tennis and only a few weeks after marrying husband Nino Severino.

Baltacha, who revealed the extent of her illness in March, was a British number one for nearly three years, during a time when she reached as high as 49th in the World Rankings.

At the age of 19 she was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic liver condition which compromises the immune system.

Despite the illness, she went on to win 11 singles titles, made the third round of Wimbledon in 2002 and reached the third round of the Australian Open in 2005 and 2010.

Aside from her professional career, Baltacha dedicated a lot of time and effort towards the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which aimed to help children from all backgrounds learn how to play tennis.

A charity event in honour of Baltacha, called ‘Rally For Bally’, will be held on June 15, with high-profile stars such as Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova and Tim Henman set to headline the event.

The event will feature three mixed double matches, with one each on the final days from the Aegon International in Eastbourne, the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club and the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.

Donations can be made at, with all proceeds donated towards the fight against cancer.