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.”
Marvel has released the first teaser trailer a week early after it leaked online
Anderlecht vs Arsenal match report: Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski pounce as Arsenal leave it late
How Real Madrid started copying Barcelona's old pass masters, and began reaping the rewards
Liverpool vs Real Madrid player ratings: Was Cristiano Ronaldo the star man? And how did Mario Balotelli fare?
Liverpool vs Real Madrid match report: Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema run Reds ragged at Anfield
Arsenal player ratings
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'