Tennis

Andy Murray pays tribute to Baltacha after win

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Football News
24/7

Andy Murray has paid tribute to Elena Baltacha after she passed away of liver cancer, calling her a "great character and great person."

The former British no.1 Baltacha died over the weekend at the age of just 30, just a few months after retiring from the sport.

Murray was one of the high-profile names to sign up to play at 'Rally for Bally', a fundraiser event for Baltacha after she was diagnosed with the disease in January. The pair were close, with Murray's mother, Judy, acting as her Fed Cup captain.

He signed a camera lens with 'Bally' along with a heart and a kiss after a round two 6-11-6 6-4 win over Spaniard Nicolas Almagro. 

It was the first time that the 26-year-old had played following her death, and speaking after his opening match at the Madrid Open, the world no.8 admitted it has been a tough time.

"It's been a tough 10 days or so," he said after setting up a clash with Santiago Giraldo.

"I kind of had an idea what was going on with Elena because my mum is obviously very close with her and her husband.

"It does make you think about things and you do realise how lucky you are, and that the most important thing is your health.

"The more time that passes the more people will celebrate everything that Bally did because she was a great character, a great person, she got everything she could out of her potential.

"Everyone wants to be Wimbledon champion and to be number one in the world but not everyone can have that. The best thing you can do is achieve your potential and I believe she did that. That's a big credit to her.

"It's something that every single day you're going to think about. But it's just tough for everyone today. I just wanted to try to go out and play and win, and try to enjoy it. Right now is not easy."

Baltacha reached a career-high ranking of 49 in her 16 years as a professional, picking up 11 ITF womens singles titles. Her best runs at the Grand Slams were two third round appearances at the Australian Open, with another at Wimbledon.

She was born in Kiev, but was raised in England after her footballing father Sergei transferred from Ukraine club Dynamo Kiev to Ipswich.

Murray and Baltacha were part of Great Britain's team at the 2012 London Olympics, and he attended a ceremony at the beginning of the action in Madrid to celebrate her life.

The two-time Wimbledon winner is bidding to win his second title in Spain's capital after his 2008 win.

Preparations for the Masters 1000 tournament haven't exactly been ideal for Murray, he remains without a coach following his split in March with Ivan Lendl. Time is running out for the British no.1 to appoint a successor to the Czechoslovakian before the French Open begins.

He has never won at Roland Garros, and the clay is his least favoured surface. The last action on the dirt was a decisive singles rubber loss against Fabio Fognini, which went some way to send Italy through to the semi-finals of the Davis Cup.

The Paris Grand Slam kicks-off in a matter of weeks, as usual Rafael Nadal will be favourite to win - having done so eight times already.

The Spaniard is also one of Murray's biggest threats if he is to win for a second time in Madrid. With Roger Federer pulling out after the birth of his second set of twins, and Novak Djokovic's withdrawal through injury, the 'King of Clay' world no.1 will be expected to take his fourth title in his homeland. 

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Topics:
Andy Murray
Tennis
Elena Baltacha

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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