About The Elena Baltacha Foundation
When Elena (Bally) retired from tennis in 2012 after a great performance at the London Olympics, she had one very clear goal, to get more children playing tennis. Her passion and drive lead her and her husband and coach Nino Severino to open the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis in Bally's hometown of Ipswich in Suffolk (UK). The academy was originally designed specifically for girls, however there was such a high demand from both boys and girls, Bally and Nino made the decision to open the academy doors to all children.
Bally's academy went from strength to strength with her passion and enthusiasm for the sport fueling the children, parents and coaches.
"Bally was such a joy to work with, watching her with the kids out on court was a true honour, she just thrived, it was almost as if it was she was meant to do her whole life, and the kids... Well they just loved her!" - Nino Severino, Bally's coach, husband and Chairman of EBF.
After Bally's passing in 2014 The Elena Baltacha Foundation (EBF) was established to harness the generous fundraising and outpouring of support from the world of professional tennis and the general public to enable the great work that Bally started with the Ipswich academy to continue and grow as per her wishes.
Until now, EBF has provided financial support to EBAT in Bally’s home town of Ipswich, the academy is now poised to reach out to more children from all backgrounds across the UK to fulfil Bally’s wish of getting more children playing the sport to which she dedicated her life.
We will soon be announcing a pilot project to work with delivery partners across the UK so watch this space!
The future of the foundation
Bally was a fighter both on and off court and part of her fight was to get more children exposed to tennis though their schools. With this in mind Bally went on tour and visited all of the schools in and around Ipswich (her hometown) to introduce as many children as she could to the sport. It is this fight that inspired her 'Free Schools Programme' that is delivered to schools across East Anglia by EBAT coaches and the help of our great friends at Give it Your Max. Later on of course, it was the fight in her that helped her and her family through her battle with cancer.
It is this fighting spirit that has inspired the foundations 'Join the Fight' campaign which will be at the heart of everything we do. We will continue Bally's fight to get more children playing tennis, we will continue her fight to get more girls into this fantastic sport and we will continue the fight against cancer through education and fundraising initiatives.