Andy Murray and Martina Navratilova have pledged their support to British Tennis’ second Rally Against Cancer, which will take place at three locations on June 15.
‘Rally for Bally’ will feature three mixed doubles matches at the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club, the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and the Aegon International in Eastbourne. Former British No.1 Elena Baltacha was recently diagnosed with liver cancer and proceeds will be split equally between the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis in Ipswich.
Eighteen-time Grand Slam champion Navratilova will return to Birmingham, where she twice lifted the title, and play a mixed doubles exhibition match alongside Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray on finals day at the Aegon Classic.
“Cancer is an opponent that we all must fight against,” said Navratilova, who battled breast cancer in 2010. “My thoughts are with Elena and what she must be going through at this time. It is great that the tennis world is coming together to support her, and to rally against cancer.”
In London, Andy Murray and Ross Hutchins will play on separate teams on finals day at The Queen’s Club, while Greg Rusedski and Jonny Marray will play ahead of the Aegon International at Devonshire Park. Laura Robson, Jo Konta and Heather Watson have also committed to the event, with the team line-ups to be announced at a later date.
Rally Against Cancer was the brainchild of Hutchins, who underwent treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma last year at The Royal Marsden. Last year’s fundraiser on finals day at Queen’s saw Murray and Henman play in a doubles match against Murray’s then coach Ivan Lendl and fellow Czech Tomas Berdych.
“We are determined to do everything we can to raise as much money as possible for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity to fight against cancer and for the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which means so much to Bally,” said Hutchins, the newly appointed tournament director of the Aegon Championships.
“As soon as the news of Bally's diagnosis came out, everyone in British Tennis, and indeed around the world, wanted to help, and that is shown by how quickly all the British players and players from around the world, including one of the all-time greats in Martina, wanted to be part of it. We will have all three of our recent Wimbledon champions - Andy and Jamie Murray, and Jonny Marray, one at each venue, and I hope everyone will get behind this cause in just the same way as last year.”
“I am delighted that British Tennis and The Queen's Club is once again coming together to support The Royal Marsden,” said Cally Palmer, chief executive of The Royal Marsden. “Their support enables us to continue to provide world-class cancer care for our patients, and cancer patients across the UK.”