London - Former British number one Elena Baltacha revealed on Friday that she is battling cancer.

“I have recently been diagnosed with cancer of the liver,” the 30-year-old said in a statement.

“I'm currently undergoing treatment and fighting this illness with everything I have.”

Baltacha was diagnosed at the age of 19 with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic liver condition which compromises the immune system.

Ukraine-born Baltacha reached a career-high ranking of 49 in 2010 and won 11 singles titles during her career.

She reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2002 and the same stage of the Australian Open in 2005 and 2010.

But the Scot, whose Ukrainian father Sergei played football for Ipswich and St Johnstone, had problems with injury and illness for several years and decided to hang up her racquet in November 2013.

The statement continued: “Elena and her husband Nino would like to thank everyone for their continued support.”

She was British number one for 132 weeks between 2009 and 2012 and during her career she enjoyed wins over top 10 players Li Na and Francesca Schiavone.

Sapa-AFP