© Ella Ling

Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha, Meryl Streep and a fear of flying


Actress I would like to play me in a film about my life: Meryl Streep. A couple of people have told me I look a bit like her, and she’s a fantastic actress.
If I wasn’t a tennis player, I would be: Probably doing some other kind of sport like everyone else in my family.  If not sport, then maybe working with children as I’ve discovered I love working with kids since setting up my academy and working with the girls.
Most famous person in my phone-book: My dad, Sergei Baltacha (football player for Dynamo Kiev, Ipswich Town and St Johnstone) or Judy Murray.
What scares me: Flying.
What excites me: Seeing Oscar my dog when I get back from a trip.
What makes me giggle: Oscar.
My most embarrassing experience as a tennis player: I went on court once for a match in my practice gear and when I went to take off my tracksuit bottoms I realised I had forgotten to put on my skirt underneath.
I never travel to a tournament without: My phone, never.
Favourite city on the tour: New York.
Favourite restaurant on the tour: Tony Romas in New York for the meatballs.
Favourite shop on the tour: H&M.
My nickname is: Bally, people started to call me Bally when I was about 14 and it stuck.
The last place I visited on holiday: La Manga, Spain.
The last book I read: Rafael Nadal’s autobiography.
The last film I watched: Bridesmaids.
The last album I listened to: Adele, 21.
The last meal I cooked: Spaghetti bolognese (gluten-free pasta as I’ve now changed my diet to gluten-free).
The last joke I laughed at: I’m terrible at remembering jokes but the warm up comedian when I was on Question of Sport recently was pretty funny. Not sure I can repeat the jokes, as they’re maybe a bit rude.
The last time I was recognised by a member of the public: The other day at Ipswich Tennis Club, a Scottish lady was visiting and said, “Ooh, do I know you?” and then after a little while said, “Oh yes, you’re that tennis player”.
The last time I broke a racket: It was years ago, when I was a junior. I’m really very against it now. I’ve never broken a racket in my senior career and teach all the girls in my academy that it’s not acceptable.
Grass, hard or clay? Hard.
Hot or cold? Hot.
Sand or snow? Snow
Be invisible or fly? Invisible.
If I was in a karaoke bar, the song I would choose: Always by Bon Jovi, I love that song.
If I won the lottery, I would: Fund my academy so that we could help loads more girls from deprived areas to love tennis.  I would probably also buy a new car to replace by old Peugeot.

Elena Baltacha set up the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis to help get young girls of primary school age from deprived areas of Ipswich playing tennis www.elena-baltacha.com @elenabaltacha
Elena also supports Us Girls, a Sport England funded initiative that aims to get 30,000 young women living in disadvantaged areas more active, by providing them with opportunities to play sports in their local communities. http://www.streetgames.org/www/ug/content/home @UsGirlsTweet