Elena Baltacha column

Wimbledon Championships

  • Venue: All England Club, London
  • Date: 20 June-3 July

Coverage: Live on BBC One, Two, 3D, HD, Red Button, online (UK only), Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra; live text commentary on BBC Sport website (#bbctennis); watch again on iPlayer

Impressive Elena Baltacha cruises into second round

Wimbledon R1: Baltacha beat Barthel 6-2 6-4  

It's lovely to sit here with a win under my belt and know I have a day off to enjoy it, but I'm already excited about playing Chinese world number 20 Shuai Peng  in the second round on Thursday.

There's no question that Peng will start as favourite against me but I don't mind that. In a lot of ways that is easier than being the one who is expected to win, which is the situation I had in the first match here against German qualifier Mona Barthel.

Peng has the higher ranking than me and she is seeded and, although I know players always say this, but I really don't have anything to lose against her. I can just go out there and give it a good pop.

I played Peng in February this year and we had a really good match  , although I lost 2-6 6-1 6-4. I had my chances against her and I will go into Thursday's match with lots of confidence. I've made the main draw and won a round at all three of the Grand Slams I've played this year, so there is no question in my mind that I belong at this level. I know that I can match players like Peng.

I've known Judy for years because of growing up in Scotland when she was head coach up there, and Andy's granny was kind enough to come over and wish me luck before my match on Tuesday

Elena Baltacha

I'm going to relax a bit on my day off, have a light hit and do some gentle gym work. It's important not to over-train on an off day because you can end up knackering yourself for your match, so it's really just a case of doing enough to keep your hand in and keep your body loose.

I'm going to try and watch some of my fellow Brits too. It's great that the British women are doing so well and it's definitely a big motivator for me to keep ahead of the pack. Anne Keothavong, Heather Watson and Laura Robson are all playing on Wednesday and, of course Andy Murray.

I enjoy watching tennis a lot more than I used to; I never used to bother at all but I'm a bit smarter tactically now and because of that I like to use to see patterns of play in matches and watch how players build their points and then hurt their opponents.

I don't watch a lot of men's tennis but I do always make time to watch Andy, of course. I've known Judy for years because of growing up in Scotland when she was head coach up there, and Andy's granny was kind enough to come over and wish me luck before my match on Tuesday. They're a really lovely family.

My absolute favourite male player, though, is Juan Martin del Potro. I just love that man's forehand and I always enjoy watching aggressive players because that's how I like to play. I can be a bit sad about things like that - someone sent me a picture of me hitting at the Aorangi Park practice courts and Del Potro happened to be serving behind me. That one went straight on to my phone as a screensaver.

I will try and stay away from Wimbledon during my day off because you can get a bit suffocated being around the players' lounge or restaurant day after day. There is only so much people-watching you can do and only so many cups of coffee you can drink. It gets a bit draining to be honest.

We're staying in a lovely house with a family in Wimbledon Village and I'd rather hang out there, away from it all, and get ready for the next battle.

Elena Baltacha will be contributing regular columns to the BBC Sport website throughout Wimbledon