Judy Murray’s tribute to ‘gem’ Elena Baltacha

Tennis Correspondent

Judy Murray described Elena Baltacha as “one in a million” after the former British No 1’s death from liver cancer on Sunday aged just 30. Murray had known Baltacha since her days as Scotland’s national coach and was her Fed Cup captain.

The mother of Andy and Jamie Murray was too upset to talk after taking a masterclass of junior players in  London yesterday with Head, the clothing and equipment manufacturer. However, she issued a statement in which she paid tribute to Baltacha, who married her coach, Nino Severino, in December and was diagnosed with cancer the following month.

“I don’t have the words to say what an incredible person Bally was, how loved she was or what an inspiration she will continue to be to  everyone who met her,”  Murray said.

“This is an awful loss for tennis, for all of us who knew and loved her and, most of all, for Nino and her family. My thoughts are, of course, with them. She was one in a million and an  absolute gem.”

Andy Murray, meanwhile, will play his first match for a month at the Madrid Masters this evening when he faces Nicolas Almagro. Although the Spaniard struggled to beat Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 yesterday, he is a top performer on clay and beat Rafael Nadal in Barcelona last month. All 12 of his titles have come on the surface. Nadal tackles Juan Monaco this afternoon.

Roger Federer was in the same half of the draw as  Murray and Nadal but pulled out yesterday in order to be with his wife, Mirka, at the birth of their third child. The Swiss star’s comment that he wanted to be with her “during these next few exciting weeks for our family” suggested he will also miss next week’s Rome Masters and could even skip the French Open, which starts in 18 days.

Maria Sharapova came back from the brink against  Christina McHale to reach the third round in Madrid. The  Russian trailed 4-1 in the third set before recovering to win 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Li Na, the world No 2, beat her fellow Chinese, Zheng Jie, 6-2, 6-3.

Britain’s Heather Watson returned from two months out with a shoulder injury to beat Giulia Gatto-Monticone 6-4, 7-6 in the International Tennis Federation tournament in the south of France.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders