Baltacha's Olympic dream lifted by wild-card appeal


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The Independent Online

Judy Murray, the captain of Britain's Fed Cup team, and Roger Draper, the chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association, have lobbied the International Tennis Federation for two wild cards for home players in the women's singles at this summer's Olympic tournament at Wimbledon.

On next Monday's cut-off date no British women will be ranked high enough to earn direct entry into the Olympics, but in such circumstances the ITF would be expected to award one of their six wild cards to the highest-ranked player from the host nation. However, in Beijing four years ago China's men were given two wild cards.

Elena Baltacha has been British No 1 since 2009, but will be overtaken by Anne Keothavong next week. Baltacha has a particularly strong case for a wild card given her loyalty to the Fed Cup, which, like the Olympic tournament, is run by the ITF. The 28-year-old has been in every British Fed Cup squad since 2001.

Three Britons were yesterday awarded wild cards into next week's Aegon Championships at Queen's Club. Liam Broady, who last year reached the final of the Wimbledon boys' event, will be making his debut at a tour-level tournament, while Oliver Golding, the US Open junior champion, will be competing at Queen's for the second successive year.

The third wild card went to Jamie Baker, 25, who recently reached a career-high No 206 in the rankings. The British No 2, James Ward and Lleyton Hewitt were given wild cards last month.

Kyle Edmund, the last Briton left in the boys' singles at the French Open, lost 6-4, 6-3 yesterday against Belgium's Kimmer Coppejans.