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Ipswich: Family friend says Baltachas “will pull together for Elena”

PUBLISHED: 21:45 07 March 2014 | UPDATED: 21:46 07 March 2014

Elena Baltacha during play

Elena Baltacha during play

Archant

A close friend of the Baltacha family has described them as “wonderful” and said “they will all pull together for Elena”.

BBC Radio Suffolk broadcaster Bob Shelley has known the family since they moved to the town. Elena’s father Sergei brought his family over from Kiev in Ukraine when he signed for Ipswich Town FC.

Citing memories of a six-year-old Elena playing tennis in his back garden, he said the news was “terrible”, adding: “I just can’t believe it.”

“She’s always had this determination and will fight everything all the way,” he said, “that’s the kind of person she is. I won’t be at all surprised when she overcomes this problem because that’s the kind of person she is.

“I remember her playing tennis in the back garden with her father and her brother and she always had the determination to succeed and they all have this inner strength.”

Mr Shelley described them as a “wonderful family”.

“They will all pull together for her,” he said.

“If you think of all the successes and comebacks she’s had in tennis and her problems over the years and she fought it all the way and I think she could have gone on to far bigger things than she did if not for her illness, I think she would have been in the top 10 in the world, I really do.”

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