Nino Severino: ‘I’ve never known strength like my Elena’s'
As British tennis prepares to honour the memory of Elena Baltacha with charity mixed doubles at three venues tomorrow, the former British No 1’s husband has spoken publicly about her battle with liver cancer.
Nino Severino said Baltacha had never complained about her situation following her diagnosis earlier this year.
The couple had married in December, just weeks after Baltacha announced her retirement. Severino, who was also her coach, said she had felt unwell for a while.
“The medical people couldn’t seem to understand why,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “The symptoms she was showing didn’t seem to indicate anything with the liver. She had lots of tests. They all came back clear. She had this really, really bad cough. In January we went to a big do in London. We came back and she had a pain in her side.”
Baltacha had had a liver condition since her teens, but the cancer diagnosis came out of the blue. “She was obviously very shocked and upset,” Severino said. “When we got [the diagnosis] I was beside myself. It was very difficult. I’ve never experienced strength [like that] in a human being.
“Lots of humans go through horrible, horrible things. This woman was 30 years old. She had just retired. She had so many amazing things at her feet. She never once, through the whole ordeal, ever complained. [She said] ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to everybody, treated everyone with respect. She always put my feelings first, before hers, never wanted me to be upset.”
Severino said the way she had handled the illness “really showed what a person she was”. He said it had been “a horrendous cancer” and added: “The fight was brutal.”
Andy Murray, a friend of Baltacha from their childhood years in Scotland, Ross Hutchins, Marion Bartoli and another female player yet to be announced will play a mixed-doubles match at Queens Club tomorrow as part of the “Rally for Bally”, which will benefit both the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the charity attached to the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which she set up to provide tennis opportunities for disadvantaged children. Matches will also be played at Edgbaston and Eastbourne.
World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas
Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new
TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow
Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'
Harry Redknapp: 'Adel Taarabt is about three stone overweight. I can't pick him'
QPR vs Liverpool match report: Liverpool snatch victory in seven minutes of madness
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce calm over lack of new contract
QPR vs Liverpool player ratings: Who was the star man? And did Mario Balotelli emerge with any credit?
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Manchester United striker to glory
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientists who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
- 3 Star Wars memorabilia dubbed 'bit of plastic' by Antiques Roadshow's Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
- 4 Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans
- 5 Michael McIntyre walks off stage after woman in the front row uses her phone
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'