Olympic-Tennis-Britain's Baltacha gets medal inspiration from dad

LONDON, July 25 Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:19pm BST

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LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) - As she prepares for her Olympic Games debut, British tennis player Elena Baltacha said she is inspired by her footballer father Sergei's bronze medal more than 30 years ago.

Baltacha's father, who played for Dynamo Kiev before continuing his career in England with Ipswich Town, won his medal as part of the Soviet Union side at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

"He said it was probably the most amazing experience he had ever had in his life," the Ukranian-born British number four told reporters at a Team GB tennis news conference at Wimbledon where the tennis event begins on Saturday.

"He has shown me loads of pictures. He said it was just unbelievable to be part of something that big."

"It is such a special occasion and he is just so proud that I have managed to get my spot here," added the 28-year-old who was knocked out in the second round of Wimbledon earlier this month by defending champion Petra Kvitova.

Baltacha, who said her father would be following her efforts on television, will get two chances to bring home a second medal for the family, as she is playing in both the women's singles event and the doubles with British number two Anne Keothavong.

"He said just try and experience everything you can while you are in it and it will be something that you will never forget," she said. (Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Martyn Herman)

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