Martina Navratilova will return to Birmingham

Navratilova commits to Rally for Bally



Originally published on 17/04/14

‘Rally for Bally’ will take place at three British tournaments on Fathers’ Day in support of Elena Baltacha, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer. Proceeds will be split equally between the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.

Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 major ladies doubles and 10 mixed doubles titles in her career, will join Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray to play a mixed doubles exhibition match on finals day at the Aegon Classic at Edgbaston.

“Cancer is an opponent that we all must fight against,” said Navratilova, who overcame 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.”

Andy Murray and Ross Hutchins will be on opposite sides of the court on finals day at The Queen’s Club, where Murray will be defending his Aegon Championships title, while ahead of the Aegon International in Eastbourne, Greg Rusedski and Jonathan Marray will be in action. Britain's top three-ranked women's players, Laura Robson, Jo Konta and Heather Watson, have also committed to the event and teams will be announced at a later date.

Hutchins created Rally Against Cancer last year after undergoing treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma at The Royal Marsden hospital. The fundraising event on finals day at Queen’s saw a host of celebrities including Jonathan Ross, Michael McIntyre and Mayor of London Boris Johnson making cameo appearances as Murray and Henman took on 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.”

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