• London Olympics 2012

London 2012 boost for Baltacha and Keothavong

ESPN staff
July 12, 2012
Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong will play in the women's doubles at London 2012 © PA Photos

Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong will have a double shot at Olympic gold after they were belatedly handed a doubles spot at London 2012.

In a twist of fate, Baltacha and Keothavong were gifted a place by the pair who brought an end to their Wimbledon campaign. The British duo lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Monica Niculescu and Irena-Camelia Begu, but received a call-up to the Olympic women's doubles tournament following an injury to Niculescu.

While Keothavong automatically qualified for a place in the singles competition thanks to her status as British No.1, Baltacha, the long-time top-ranked British player, had to rely on a wildcard.

Baltacha will follow in the footsteps of her father, Sergei Baltacha, who won Olympic bronze competing for the USSR football team in the 1980 Moscow Games. Her mother Olga, a national standard pentathlete, was unable to compete because she had to look after her one-year-old son.

"It's impossible to put in to words how grateful I am to the ITF for giving me the chance to play at the Olympics," Baltacha said following her selection to Team GB. "It's always been my dream and I can't quite believe that it's going to come true now - especially at Wimbledon. It's an incredible honour to represent GB and I'm going to relish every second of being an Olympian."

With youngsters Heather Watson and Laura Robson already in the draw, Team GB now have two teams in the women's doubles for the Olympic tennis tournament, which takes place at the All England Club between July 28 and August 5.

Niculescu's withdrawal paves the way for Hungarian Timea Babos in the singles.

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