Tennis - Baltacha to focus on coaching

Former British number one Elena Baltacha has signalled her intention to help bring through the next generation of tennis players after announcing the end of her playing career.

Tennis - Baltacha to focus on coaching

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Elena Baltacha

The 30-year-old, who competed in both the singles and doubles events at the London 2012 Olympics last summer, brought the curtain down on her 16-year playing career over the weekend.

Ranked as the best woman in Britain between December 2009 and June 2012, Baltacha reached a best of the third round of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

Her outing at London 2012, where she reached the second round of the singles and played in the doubles with Anne Keothavong, marked the end of her year with foot surgery following.

And, despite returning to full fitness and winning the Nottingham Challenge title in June this year, Baltacha has decided to hang up the racket in favour of coaching.

Baltacha hasn't played since failing in qualifying for the US Open back in August and she said: "It just feels it's the right time. 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, some incredible highs and some very low lows, 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."

� Sportsbeat 2013

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