• Tennis

Former British No. 1 Baltacha announces retirement

ESPN staff
November 18, 2013
Elena Baltacha believes it was the right time to retire © PA Photos

Former British no. 1 Elena Baltacha has announced her immediate retirement from tennis, but wants to remain in the sport as a coach.

Balatcha is an 11-time International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles title winner, most recently picking up the Aegon Trophy crown in Nottingham in June.

The 30-year-old reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2002 and also enjoyed third round appearances at the Australian Open in 2005 and 2010.

At 19, Baltacha was diagnosed with the chronic liver condition primary sclerosing cholangitis but continued with her career, which saw her gain victories over several top ten players including Li Na and Francesca Schiavone.

However, the Brit wants to focus on helping young tennis stars further their careers and is aiming to produce a future champion.

"It just feels it's the right time," Baltacha told the Lawn Tennis Association's official website. "My body has taken such a bruising over the last 16 years and that's finally taken its toll.

"I have had some amazing experiences through playing tennis - some incredible highs and some very low lows - and I wouldn't change any of them but now my mind and body are telling me it's time to move on to a new phase of my life.

"I still absolutely love tennis and I want to take that passion and put it into learning to be the best coach I can be so that I can take all my experiences as a player and use that to help develop the next generation of British tennis players.

"I am very committed to my Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which I started with my coach Nino Severino. We believe that no matter what background you are from, that all children, rich or poor, should have the opportunity to play tennis. Hopefully we'll produce a champion one day."

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