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.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
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.

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering