- Full name Elena Baltacha
- Nickname Bally
- Birth date August 14, 1983
- Birth place Kiev
- Current age 30 years 118 days
- Height 5 ft 9 in
Born to Ukrainian parents, Elena Baltacha was destined for a career in sport, with father Sergei playing professional football for Ipswich Town representing USSR, while her mother was an Olympic heptathlete.
After making her debut on the ITF Tour in 1997, it was not until 1999 that Baltacha progressed past the qualifying stages, reaching the main draw on four occasions, and making the quarter-finals in Glasgow.
She reached the quarter-final stages of Bournemouth in April 2000, aged 16, and earned her first wild card into the qualifying draw at Wimbledon, but she was beaten there by Flavia Pennetta 3-6 6-4 2-6. She ended the year inside the top 400.
Baltacha was sidelined by injury for three months at the beginning of 2001, but she returned to make the quarter-finals of the Edinburgh tournament as a qualifier, and after being handed a wild card for Eastbourne, she beat Virginie Razzano 3-6 6-1 6-1 to reach the main draw. She continued a steady rise up the rankings and ended the year inside the top 250.
After a shaky start to the 2002 season, Baltacha enjoyed her best run at Wimbledon, reaching the third round where she lost to Elena Likhovtseva. She then went on to win her first ITF title in Felixstowe, and continued her impressive run with her second title two weeks later in Pamplona, beating Virginie Pichet 6-2 6-1 in the final. She ended the year just outside the top 150.
For the third year running she received a wild card into the main draw of Wimbledon, but came up against Jelena Dokic in the first round, taking the world No.5 to three sets. It was her last match of the year as she underwent surgery for liver troubles and was out of action for the rest of the year.
On her return to tennis in 2004, she reached the second round of Wimbledon, where she was beaten by three-time Grand Slam champion Jennifer Capriati. Then, in 2005, she stormed through three rounds of qualifying of the Australian Open without dropping a set, and continued her run to reach the second round, but she was beaten by the 15th seed Silvia Farina Elia.
Her 2006 season was hampered by injury and in June she was forced to undergo surgery on a prolapsed disk which forced her out of action for the remainder of the season. She reached the second round of Wimbledon once more in 2008, and ITF titles in Jersey and Torhout helped her climb into the world top 50.
She continued her rankings rise in 2009, qualifying for the Australian Open along fellow Brits Katie O'Brien, Anne Keothavong and Melanie South, and cruised through the first round in straight sets, before coming up against former world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo. She won the first set but eventually lost 4-6 6-3 6-2. Two further ITF titles and a second-round appearance at Wimbledon helped her move into the top 100 for the first time and she ended the year ranked 87th.
After winning her sixth career title in Shrewsbury, beating fellow Brit Katie O'Brien 6-3 4-6 6-3 in the final, Baltacha broke into the top 100 for the first time. After the victory she said: "The top-100 barrier has been in my head for a while but I've tried to put it to the back of my mind and just keep playing. Now I feel like there's a monkey off my back."
After undergoing surgery for a prolapsed disk, Baltacha struggled to find form and after battling injury and illness at the beginning of the 2008 considered quitting, but her coach Nino Severino convinced her to stick at it.
"It feels so good to be in the top 100, it feels so satisfying. Yes, I've got talent. Yes, I'm a good player."
"I am emotionally knackered but I won't be spending my winnings on an upgrade. I will stay in economy" [After reaching round three of the 2005 Australian Open]
"I remember watching her play when she made the semis at junior Wimbledon in 2001. I felt then, and nothing has changed my mind since, that she comfortably has the ability to be among the top 50 in the world." Mark Petchey
Baltacha has to live with a liver condition that means she must take 10 pills a day and have her blood tested regularly
- British pair fail in US Open bid, Evans joy (Aug 23, 2013)
- Baltacha & Edmund lead Brit exodus (Jun 24, 2013)
- Baltacha bagelled in first round disaster (May 28, 2013)
- Baltacha bows out of Brussels (May 22, 2013)
Baltacha upsets odds to oust Voegele (May 20, 2013)