Net Gains: Baltacha wants crack at big time – then she's off to have babies

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The Independent Online

Elena Baltacha, who will be 27 in August, is playing the best tennis of her life but the British No 1 is thinking ahead to the end of her career. "The goal I've set is to make it to the Olympics and then stop," she said here last week. "I'll be 29 then. I want to have kids, but I don't want to have them too late. I've been through so much in my career. I've been playing since I was 10. That's 17 years. I like to set goals, make plans." Baltacha's career has been dogged by illness and injury, but a new fitness and training regime has helped her climb to No 62 in the world rankings. Baltacha played in the French Open for the first time last week and is looking forward to competing on her favourite surface over the next month. Nottingham, Edgbaston, Eastbourne and Wimbledon are all on her agenda. The Briton wants to reach the world's top 50, though she has one other big ambition left. "I would really love to do something massive in a Grand Slam. Obviously Wimbledon would be amazing. If you get on a good run, anything can happen. You've seen players who have made semis in Grand Slams and people have said: 'How is that possible?' It would be nice to think that could be me."

Murray makes a racket

You know you have made it at the French Open when you are invited to take part in the karaoke video that the host broadcasters make each year. Andy Murray was one of this year's star turns, performing "I Want You Back" by The Jackson 5. "The singing was OK but the dancing was rubbish," Murray said. "I was saying I should have done it again. I wasn't that happy with it but it was fun." Decide for yourself by watching his efforts on YouTube.

Scheepers' short story

One news agency here reported that Chanelle Scheepers, the first South African woman to reach the third round at Roland Garros since Amanda Coetzer, "looked up to" the 1997 semi-finalist. Seeing as Coetzer was just 5ft 2in tall and Scheepers stands at 5ft 9in that must have been quite an achievement. Coetzer never lost in 12 first-round appearances at Wimbledon. "One of the reasons I'm good on grass is because I'm closer to it," she once told a reporter.

That's just Bog standard

Alex Bogdanovic should take heart. The Frenchman Nicolas Mahut finally won a singles match at his home Grand Slam tournament last week at the eighth attempt. If Bogdanovic plays at Wimbledon next month – he will need to qualify or receive a wild card – the British No 2 will be aiming to register his first win in nine visits to the All England Club. Bogdanovic currently shares the record for successive Wimbledon defeats with the Chilean Patricio Cornejo, who lost eight first-round matches between 1968 and 1976. Cornejo also features in the record books for one of the longest doubles matches in history, having partnered Jaime Fillol to a 7-9, 37-39, 8-6, 6-1, 6-3 Davis Cup defeat against Stan Smith and Erik van Dillen in 1973.