The WTA is saddened to report Elena Pampoulova Wagner, a regular presence in the Top 100 in the 1990s and a former member of the WTA’s Player Council died on April 19 after an illness at the age of 50.
Born in Sofia on May 17, 1972, Pampoulova put together a professional career that lasted from 1988 until 2001. She achieved career-high rankings of No.62 in singles and No.38 in doubles.
Hailing from a tennis family, her first tennis coach was her mother, Bulgarian player Lubka Radkova. Her father, Emilian Pampoulov, also played professionally.
At one point Europe’s No.2 under-14-year-old behind Monica Seles, Pampoulova went on to reach two WTA singles finals, capturing the title at Surabaya in 1994 and finishing runner-up at Sopot in 1998. Her best Grand Slam results came at the US Open in 1997 and Wimbledon in 1999, reaching the third round at both events. She also won three WTA doubles titles and enjoyed considerable success on the ITF Circuit.
Representing Bulgaria in the Billie Jean King Cup from 1988 until 1992, Pampoulova was also a member of the nation’s Olympic team at Barcelona in 1992, alongside Katerina and Magdalena Maleeva. Later, in 1997 and 1999, she competed for Germany.
In recent years, Pampoulova lived in Switzerland, where she worked in finance. She is survived by her husband, Christian Bergomi and 15-year-old son Alex, who is a top tennis junior in his age group.
“Elena was a great athlete with enormous ambition and very hard working,” said Miriam Schropp-Kende, a fellow former player from Germany. “Tennis was her life! She loved it. In addition, she was a great personality.”
The WTA family extends its condolences to all Pampoulova’s loved ones.