Elena Baltacha's father on the death of his daughter: ‘I still wake up hoping it was all a bad dream’
Sergei Baltacha talks about the late tennis star for the first time since her death
Elena Baltacha’s father says that it’s “too painful” to attend Wimbledon events celebrating the life and legacy of his late daughter.
The tennis player died on 4 May from liver cancer aged just 30, after being diagnosed in January. She married her coach Nino Severino just weeks before in December.
Yellow "Rally for Bally" wristbands are currently on sale at Wimbledon to raise money for Baltacha's Academy of Tennis, which provides tennis training for local schools.
“We have had several invitations this year, including to attend some of the events honouring Elena, but we both declined,” said Sergei Baltacha, talking for the first time since the death of his daughter.
“Everything there, from the scoreboards to the ground staff we’ve come to know over the years, would remind us too much that she is no longer here."
Baltacha’s funeral was held on 19 May in her hometown Ipswich. Mourners included Tim Henman, Annabel Croft, Laura Robson and Judy Murray, who coached Baltacha as a junior.
“I still wake up hoping it was all a bad dream, expecting she’s going to call me to say, ‘Dad, let’s organise a barbecue,’” said her father.
"We miss her positive approach to life and her sunny smile. She was so full of joy.
“I can’t even cope with watching the matches on television, even though I love Andy Murray and want him to win again.”
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
First full-length look is finally here
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
Brooklyn Beckham poses in Arsenal training kit following rumours of signing for the Gunners
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer news LIVE: Manchester United to make £37m Mats Hummels bid; Inter plan Yaya Toure move; Shola Ameobi joins Crystal Palace
Australian Open 2015: Novak Djokovic vs Stan Wawrinka match preview
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures