Andy Murray and brother Jamie pay tribute to Elena Baltacha

Murray remembers 'champion' Baltacha

Andy Murray has joined brother Jamie in paying tribute to Elena Baltacha, who died of liver cancer at the age of 30 on Sunday.

The brothers both knew the former British number one, who was coached as a youngster in Scotland by their mother Judy.

Elena Baltacha
Baltacha reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament on three occasions

"She was a great person and she had a great character," said Andy.

"I have known her for a very long time and my mum was extremely close to her, so it's been a tough couple of weeks."

Both Andy and Jamie are among a host of players who will play in the charity fundraiser Rally for Bally on 15 June.

Baltacha was diagnosed with liver cancer in January, shortly after retiring and marrying her former coach, Nino Severino.

"It's a terrible tragedy. It is very difficult for Nino and all her family," Jamie added.

"It happened so fast. Four months ago, she was getting married and looking forward to the rest of her life and now all that's gone.

"She was a great person, full stop, regardless of what she did on the tennis court and I think everyone that knew her will remember her very fondly. I'm sure her memory will live on."

Baltacha and her husband launched the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis in Ipswich in 2010.external-link

"Hopefully that's something we as tennis players, because we have a responsibility, can help with and keep it going," said Wimbledon champion Andy.

"Hopefully with the Rally for Bally day later in the year we can raise a lot of money for her academy and that's the best thing that we can do right now for her and her family.

Interview - Jamie Murray

"But it doesn't change the fact that she obviously died way too young and it's a tragic tragic story."

Jamie, who was speaking at the Madrid Masters after he and Australian partner John Peers lost 2-6 6-3 10-6 to Polish pair Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in the first round added: "It is very sad, but it kind of puts things into perspective a little bit. You've got to make the most of every day you have because you never know when your last one might be.

"It is all just terribly sad and tough to sum up."

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