Murray: Baltacha was incredible

  • Last Updated: May 6 2014, 10:40 BST

Elena Baltacha was "one in a million" and "an absolute gem".

Judy Murray (l) and Elena Baltacha, pictured in 2012
Judy Murray (l) and Elena Baltacha, pictured in 2012

Those are the words of Judy Murray, who first knew the player known as Bally as a junior in Scotland.

The pair remained close and worked together in recent years through Murray's role as captain of Great Britain's Fed Cup team.

Murray was also a patron of Baltacha's academy in Ipswich and hosted camps in Scotland for groups of children on a number of occasions.

Baltacha died on Sunday morning from liver cancer at the age of 30, less than six months after marrying her former coach Nino Severino.

Murray said in a statement: "I don't have the words to say what an incredible person Bally was, how loved she was or what an inspiration she will continue to be to everyone who met her.

"This is an awful loss for tennis, for all of us who knew and loved her but most of all for Nino and her family. My thoughts are, of course, with them.

"She was one in a million. An absolute gem."

Murray shared Baltacha's passion for inspiring children to play tennis and fulfilled her commitment on Tuesday to give a masterclass to a group of junior HEAD players.

Murray's sons Andy and Jamie led a joint ATP and WTA tribute to Baltacha at the Madrid Open on Monday when a minute's silence was held on court.