Elena Baltacha’s career had reached match-point.

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However, following successful surgery on her right ankle, the 29-year-old is back after five months out, and ready for one last shot at the big time.

The former British number one was poised to quit the sport, hot on the heels of her Olympic exit to Ana Ivanovic in the summer, and admitted she “hit the wall”.

Years of travelling, training and playing at such a high intensity took its toll, both physically and mentally, on the Ipswich-based player and the Kiev-born Scot was ready to call time on a 15-year career.

However, time spent on the sidelines saw her take stock and the Fed Cup captain, who believes she can continue competing for another two years or so, is targeting a return at Indian Wells, in California, next March.

“I wanted to come back because I had banked so much experience and felt I needed to finish differently,” admitted Baltacha.

“I have got the hunger back and that is a big help. Otherwise you are stuffed.

“I am coming back but I don’t feel like I have a point to prove or have any pressure on me. I don’t need to rush and I can develop tennis-wise.”

For more with Baltacha on “hitting the wall”, rekindling her love for the sport, and her plans for the future, see today’s Ipswich Star.

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