Elena Baltacha targets British No1 spot after return from injury

Elena Baltacha is targeting the British No1 spot, despite marking her comeback from a serious ankle injury with a defeat

elena baltacha
Elena Baltacha has been out of action with an ankle injury Photo: Marianne Bevis

elena baltacha

Elena Baltacha has targeted the British No1 spot, despite marking her comeback to tennis with a defeat.

The Scot, 29, trailed Sharon Fichman 7-5, 4-6, 1-5 at the IVF Clay event in Pelham before she retired from her first match in nine months.

The former British No1, who has recovered from a serious ankle injury, declared herself “happy” on twitter, and is now looking towards the Fed Cup clash with Argentina next week.

“Argentina are definitely not going to be a pushover,” said Baltacha.

“On paper we are the better team but they have the advantage of playing at home, and in front of the home crowd who are going to be extremely loud. We’re also pretty sure they will try to make the clay court play as slow as possible!

“But we are a very strong team and have a strong team spirit, so we will all pull together and support each other through whatever might be thrown our way. I’m so pumped and cannot wait to get out there.”

Baltacha’s return to action was her first competitive match since defeat by Ana Ivanovic at London 2012 last July, before becoming sidelined and requiring foot surgery.

“After the Olympics, that was it,” she admitted. “I was coaching and I was happy to be at home. Watching the US Open didn’t really faze me at all. I thought, ‘I’m not there, and that’s fine.’

“But then after the surgery I realised I do really love it, I think I can still get out there and do some more and achieve many more things. Watching the Australian Open hurt me much more than I thought. I’ve definitely got that desire and that want again.”

Despite slipping to 209 in the world, the British number six believes she can wrest her former prize from the clutches of Laura Robson and Heather Watson.

“Long-term, I want to get my number one spot back,” said Baltacha. “It’s going to be hard, of course – I’m 30 this year and they’re only [19] and 20.

“They’re doing very well, they’re on their path and achieving a lot of great things, but it will be great to be back and mixing in around with them.”

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