Former British No 1 Elena Baltacha announces retirement

The 30-year-old Scot reached a career-high ranking of 49

Former British number one Elena Baltacha has announced her retirement from professional tennis.

The 30-year-old Scot reached a career-high ranking of 49 in 2010 but has struggled with injury since.

A Fed Cup stalwart, her CV also contains wins over top-10 players Li Na and Francesca Schiavone while her best grand slam performances saw her reach the third round at the Australian Open in 2005 and 2010 and at Wimbledon in 2002.

"It just feels it's the right time" said Baltacha.

"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 my 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 (EBAT), 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."

Fed Cup captain Judy Murray said: "Bally has been the most incredible ambassador for women's tennis in Britain for the past 12 years. Her work ethic and competitive spirit are second to none.

"If we could bottle those qualities, we would have many more top players. She's the perfect role model for our junior girls and the Fed Cup won't be the same without her."

PA

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