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Former British tennis No. 1 Elena Baltacha dead at 30

By Evan Hilbert | CBSSports.com

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Elena Baltacha at Wimbledon, last year. (Getty Images)

Former professional tennis player Elena Baltacha died Sunday just months after retiring from the game and a few weeks after marrying her long-time coach, Nino Severino.

Baltacha, 30, was at one time the top British women's player, and she represented Britain at the 2012 London Olympics. Her top world ranking was No. 49 in 2010. She retired in November and was diagnosed with cancer in January.

"We are heartbroken beyond words at the loss of our beautiful, talented and determined Bally," Severino said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. "She was an amazing person and she touched so many people with her inspirational spirit, her warmth and her kindness."

Baltacha was diagnosed with a chronic liver condition as a teenager, an issue she dealt with throughout her career.

"The thoughts and condolences of the ATP players, tournaments and staff go out to Elena's husband, Nino, her family, friends and all who knew her," ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode said. "Elena battled against adversity throughout her career and she will be remembered for her fighting spirit and as a role model for all."

Despite the recent cancer diagnosis, Baltacha had planned to participate in a charity event, "Rally For Bally," this June. The event will now be held in her honor.

 
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