Baltacha ready to play on

16 October 2012 / 17:46

Former British number one Elena Baltacha has put aside thoughts of retirement and revealed she is fully intending to return to professional tennis next season.

The 29-year-old has not played since the Olympics, where she announced she was planning to have foot surgery that would keep her out for six months and could signal the end of her career.

But - after going under the knife earlier this month - Baltacha is ready to put in the hard work needed to return to full fitness.

She said: "I do really want to come back. Over the last couple of months I've realised I do want to compete again. The competition is the one thing I really miss about it, when it's 4-4 in the third set and 30-30. You can't really replace that playing a game of cards.

"But it all depends on my recovery. I remember when I had my back surgery when I was 19 and it wasn't really that much of a blow because you recover so quickly. But I'm 29 now and it's completely different.

"So we'll see what my body says. If I can't come back then I'll accept it and move on and look forward to getting on with the next part of my life."

Baltacha has enjoyed her break, though, which has enabled her to devote a lot more time to her tennis academy for girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in Ipswich.

She said: "At the moment I'm really enjoying being at home and not getting on another plane. And once I'm up and about again I'll be back at the academy. I love seeing the girls and I'm learning and developing as a coach.

"And I'm so looking forward to Christmas, and having a tree. I've never had one before because I normally have to leave home on Boxing Day."