Baltacha set to quash retirement plans

British number one Elena Baltacha admits she is likely to perform a u-turn and play on into 2013.

Tennis News: Elena Baltacha

Baltacha flirted with retirement when she revealed in August that next year's Olympic Games in London was likely to be her tennis swansong.

But with the 28-year-old playing so well - she cracked the world's top 50 for the first time last year and remains just below her career-high ranking - she now says it would be "silly" to quit if things remain rosy.

"I did say the Olympics was probably going to be my last tournament," she told

"When I look now how near it is - it will be here before you know it - I think it would be a real shame if I'm enjoying it, if I'm still improving and I'm injury free, to give it up.

"I look at how I love it now and it would be silly for me to stand firm and say 'let's stop' if I'm heading in the right direction."

She added: "I spent nine years on the ITF circuit trying to get into the top 100 and getting into a good position. The last two years I've achieved a lot. It would be silly not to carry on as long as I feel I still love it and my ranking's getting better. If that's the case, I'll carry on.

"I'll probably end up playing til I'm 40 now, although I think I'd need a new coach by then!"

Baltacha is currently preparing for the new season, which, for her, will get under way in Auckland in the first week in January. She will leave her Ipswich home to fly to New Zealand on Boxing Day, with the main aim being to do well at the Australian Open in Melbourne, which starts on January 16.

However, her primary target for the year is raise her ranking further - she is currently at 51st in the WTA list.

"The only target I've set is, of course, the ranking - I'll keep chipping away at that. I've never put a number on it," said Baltacha.

"I broke the top 50 last season whch was great. It's just a matter of performing consistently on a week-to-week basis. If you do that you will move up.

"It's also the Olympics, so this is a very big year for me. I'll make sure I'm fully prepared for that."

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