Elena Baltacha announces retirement from tennis
Former British No 1 Elena Baltacha has announced her retirement from tennis.
Last Updated: 18/11/13 1:43pm
Baltacha broke into the world top 50 in 2010 and has enjoyed victories over a number of top players including Li Na and Francesca Schiavone.
The 30-year-old reached the third round of the Australian Open on two occasions as well as the same stage of Wimbledon, in 2002, and was also a regular in Britain's Fed Cup team.
But having struggled for form and fitness in recent years, she has decided to retire to open a tennis academy with her coach Nino Severino.
"It just feels it's the right time" Baltacha told the Lawn Tennis Association's (LTA) official website.
"My body has taken such a bruising over the last 16 years and that's finally taken its toll.
"I have had some amazing experiences through playing tennis and I wouldn't change any of them but now my mind and my body are telling me it's time to move on to a new phase of my life.
"I still absolutely love tennis and I want to take that passion and put it into learning to be the best coach I can be so that I can take all my experiences as a player and use that to help develop the next generation of British tennis players.
"I am very committed to my Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis (EBAT), which I started with my coach Nino Severino.
"We believe that no matter what background you are from, that all children, rich or poor, should have the opportunity to play tennis. Hopefully we'll produce a champion one day."
Fed Cup captain Judy Murray paid tribute to Baltacha, who represented her country in the competition every year from 2002-2013.
"Bally has been the most incredible ambassador for women's tennis in Britain for the past 12 years," said Murray.
"Her work ethic and competitive spirit are second to none. If we could bottle those qualities, we would have many more top players.
"She's the perfect role model for our junior girls and the Fed Cup won't be the same without her."