Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Elena Breathes Life into British Women's Game but Patient Is Still in Intensive Care

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Elena Breathes Life into British Women's Game but Patient Is Still in Intensive Care

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS JONES

ELENA BALTACHA was today being shielded from the euphoria generated by her stunning Wimbledon second round singles triumph over Amanda Coetzer that proved there really was life in the British women's game.

While the patient is still in need of intensive care on the international circuit, the feelgood-factor generated by Baltacha's win over the vastly experienced South African Coetzer, the 32nd seed, has forced coaches Alan Jones and Jo Durie to put their protective arms around the 18-year-old from Enfield.

Durie, the former British No1, and Jones, the man who guided her to No4 in the world, are fully equipped to deal with the hype that will propel Baltacha into her third round clash with Elena Likhovtseva, the 48th ranked Russian who knocked out fifth seed Kim Clijsters.

They train a group of British women at Hitchin that includes, apart from Baltacha, Anne Keothavong and Hannah Collin - and are only too aware of the need for cool heads amid all the plaudits. Jones gave Baltacha a pep-talk before she started her post-match press conference and insisted that she "keep your feet on the ground".

Now, Durie and Jones have taken over the media duties to allow Baltacha to concentrate on today's practise session and "chilling out".

Durie knows how difficult the next match will be for Baltacha and is open about the amount of improvement still needed in her game.

Durie said: "She still has to learn to play on other surfaces but the great thing about Elena is that she can hit winners from anywhere on the court. We know she can be hit or miss, but she is a joy to coach."

Likhovtseva has been ranked as high as No15 in the world which highlight the task facing Baltacha who tried to contain her excitement after the match.

During it, she was emotional and obviously enjoying the support of a partisan crowd and that will be the case tomorrow when she is likely to appear on one of the show courts. …

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