A child tennis prodigy has revealed her determination to go on and lift the Wimbledon title after paying tribute to her inspirational coach, Elena Baltacha, who lost her battle with cancer last month.
Nine-year old Justice Hall spent three years working with the former British number one before Baltacha was forced to retire from the game due to her illness, and young Justice has admitted her former coach will be the inspiration behind her attempt to climb to the top of the sport over the coming years
While Justice is still some way away from stepping out on to Centre Court at the All England Club in Wimbledon, after being ranked as the third best player in the country for her age group, the early signs are certainly extremely promising for the East Anglian child star.
And the nine-year-old her success would not have been possible without the help of her former coach, Baltacha, who first saw Justice’s talent during an event in Ipswich in 2011, travelling with the youngster to tournaments across Europe as well as up to Scotland to meet Andy Murray’s mother, Judy – who, alongside an entire nation, will be hoping Andy can defend the Wimbledon title he won in such emotional scenes last summer.
“She was an inspiration to me. She taught me never to give up – she told me to fight if I was losing,” said Justice.
“I’ll never forget the advice that she gave me and the love that she gave me. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be playing tennis. I want to work hard and play at Wimbledon and win,”
Justice’s dad, Leon, also paid tribute to the role Baltacha had on his daughter’s early career, admitting he believes everything was now in place for the youngster to go on and reach the top of the women’s game.
“With her (Justice’s) spirit and the foundations that Elena has helped to lay, there is nothing to stop her going all the way,” said Leon Hall.