Gallery: Ipswich girl Elena Baltacha was “an inspiration to everyone who met her” - Tributes paid to former British star following death from liver cancer
PUBLISHED: 11:24 05 May 2014 | UPDATED: 13:15 05 May 2014
Stars from the world of sport have been paying tribute to Elena Baltacha, who has died at the age of 30.
The former British number one, who was based in Ipswich, lost her battle with liver cancer yesterday morning.
Current and former players have spoken of their shock at her death on Twitter.
Serena Williams tweeted: “My deepest prayers, thoughts, concern and love goes out to Elena Baltacha’s family. I am deeply sorry for your loss.”
The world number one women’s singles star also quoted Revelation 21:4: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
Former world number one, Chris Evert said: “Rest in Peace, beautiful Elena Baltacha...No words...Thoughts and prayers...”
Olympic silver and double Commonwealth gold medal-winning swimmer, Sharron Davies said: “Rest in Peace Elena Baltacha...Such very sad news, so much more to give....Her family and friends in our thoughts.”
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat Baltacha on grass at the AEGON Classic, in Birmingham, in 2009, said: “So so sad news to find out Elena Baltacha has passed away! All my thoughts with her friends and family! RIP Elena Baltacha.”
Six-time Olympic cycle track champion, Sir Chris Hoy said: “Such sad news about Elena Baltacha. My thoughts go out to her family and friends.”
Andrea Petkovic met Baltacha on court in Istanbul four years ago. She said: “Shocked to hear of Elena Baltacha’s passing. Thoughts go out to her family. Let’s all hope she went to a better place than this world is.”
Former England hooker and rugby pundit, Brian Moore said: “Genuinely jolted by the sad news of Elena Baltacha’s death, aged just 30. Thank you for your 11 years for GB in the Fed Cup - RIP.”
Wimbledon quarter-finalist, Feliciano López said: “Very sad day for tennis. Elena Baltacha lost the battle against liver cancer at age 30. All our thoughts with her and her family. RIP.”
Serbian player Ana Ivanovic said: “So sad to hear about Elena. Tragic. My thoughts and prayers are with her family… #RIPBally.”
Last year’s Wimbledon women’s singles runner-up Sabine Lisicki tweeted: “Such tragic news with Elena Baltacha. Battling cancer and passing away at only age 30… #RIP.”
Commentator and former player Annabel Croft said: “Just woken up to the sad news about Elena Baltacha passing away – We won’t forget her fighting spirit. Far too young,” while world number four Victoria Azarenka said: “RIP Elena Baltach… My thoughts and condolences to her family! What a tough loss for tennis world.
Former world number one Billie Jean King chose to recount her favourite memory of Baltacha: “Saddened to hear about Elena Baltacha’s passing. My fondest memory w/Bally was sharing a wonderful chat when we met the Queen at @Wimbledon.”
The BBC’s tennis commentator Jonathan Overend said: “Absolutely tragic news. Elena Baltacha was an inspirational human being. RIP.”
Closer to home, Ipswich Hockey Club tweeted: “Very sad to hear the passing of Elena Baltacha. She was an inspiration to everyone who met her. Ipswich and the world will be a sadder place.”
The Mayor of Ipswich, Hamil Clarke, said: “It is with deep sadness that the mayoress and I heard this news, and on behalf of the whole town we want to send our condolences to Elena’s family and many friends.
“Elena never forgot her close and special links with Ipswich throughout her sporting career and did a lot to inspire people of all ages. She will be greatly missed.”
Use the comments section below to leave your tributes to Elena Baltacha.