COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2010: Elena Baltacha is forced out by health scare

By Ian Stafford

Staying at home: Elena Baltacha

Staying at home: Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha, Britain's top women's tennis player, has pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi because of health concerns.

The 27-year-old, who was due to represent Scotland, said she was not prepared to take any risks because of the chronic liver condition which affects her immune system.

The tennis competition is scheduled to start on October 4 and Baltacha said: 'After a lot of thought and discussion, I have taken the heartbreaking decision to withdraw. I'm incredibly disappointed because I was really excited about playing for Scotland, but conditions in Delhi are such that going there would pose too high a risk to my health.

'I suffer from a liver condition which is linked to my immune system and makes me susceptible to picking up infections. At the age of 27 and after many years of hard work, I'm now playing the best tennis of my career and I cannot afford to jeopardise that.

'I'll be cheering on Team Scotland with all my heart, in particular my fellow tennis players Mhairi [Brown], Joss [Jocelyn Rae], Colin [Fleming] and Jamie [Murray]. I'm very, very sad that I won't get to play alongside them.'

Jon Doig, Team Scotland chef de mission, added: 'Bally has been a huge supporter of the Games ever since her medal-winning experience in the inaugural Commonwealth Youth Games in Edinburgh. I know she is absolutely gutted about having to make this decision.

'While we are obviously disappointed that Elena has decided to withdraw from the Games, we fully respect her decision. We understand that this is a very particular set of personal circumstances and this should not give cause for concern for other athletes, who we look forward to welcoming in Delhi over the next few days.

'We wish Elena all the very best with her career and look forward to seeing her continue to progress up the world rankings.'

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