The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is proud to announce today, on the one-year anniversary of the passing of a shining light from British Tennis, that the inaugural winner of the 2015 Aegon Open Nottingham WTA event will be presented with the newly commissioned ‘The Elena Baltacha Trophy.’
The trophy itself is an Art Nouveau Bowl in sterling silver made by Atkins Brothers, hallmarked in Sheffield in 1910, measuring 24 centimetres tall with a diameter of 26 centimetres. Baltacha won her 11th and final ITF Women’s Circuit title at Nottingham 2013 – less than a year before tragically losing her battle with liver cancer on May 4, 2014.
Elena’s husband, Nino Severino said: “The loss of our darling Bally is a heartbreak that will never go away. It’s very touching that the British Tennis family is remembering her this way. We’re all working together to keep her legacy alive through the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis and getting more kids of all backgrounds playing tennis.”
Baltacha, known to her friends and family simply as Bally, became the first British woman in 25 years to rank inside the world’s Top 50 in September 2010, reaching a career-high No.49 that month. Her joint record of representing her country in 39 Fed Cup ties from 2002-13 is bettered only by Virginia Wade.
LTA President Cathie Sabin said: “Bally was an inspiration to us all, she always found time to talk to people even when in the middle of an event and had a way of making everyone feel special. Visitors to the Nottingham events will remember her for her friendly manner and will I am sure appreciate that this trophy will help us to remember a truly lovely lady.”
Judy Murray, Great Britain’s Fed Cup Captain said: “This is a wonderful way to remember Bally. She was one of the best competitors I ever saw and had a lot of success at the Nottingham event. I know she would be thrilled with this.”
The Aegon Open Nottingham (WTA) Tournament Director, Rebecca James said: “It will be a historic week for us in Nottingham with the debut of the WTA tournament and this is a very special way to celebrate Elena’s competitive spirit and forever pay tribute to her memory.”
The Aegon Open Nottingham will see two tournaments take place in June, the women’s WTA event taking place from 6-14 June 2015, and the men’s ATP event being staged from 20-27 June 2015. Both tournaments will be an integral part of the new British grass court season, which in 2015 will see a three week window between Roland Garros and Wimbledon for the very first time. The extended grass court season will enable some of the world’s very best players extra time to find their feet on grass and make the most of the very best grass-courts in the country.
For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/tennis