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Ipswich: Andy Murray to play exhibition in support of Elena Baltacha in ‘Rally for Bally’ event

14:19 16 April 2014

Elena Baltacha

Elena Baltacha

Archant

Elena Baltacha is fighting her cancer “with everything that she’s got”, according to her close friend Judy Murray.

Andy Murray during his match against Benjamin Becker at the AEGON Championships at The Queen's Club, London, last year.Andy Murray during his match against Benjamin Becker at the AEGON Championships at The Queen's Club, London, last year.

The mother of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, who has known Baltacha since she was a child starting out in the game in Scotland, added: “She has always had a tremendous competitive spirit and she is taking that with her into this battle.”

She was speaking at the launch of a fundraising event in support of Baltacha, the Ipswich tennis star who earlier this year announced she has been diagnosed with liver cancer.

Mrs Murray is helping to organise a Rally Against Cancer event which will raise funds for Baltacha’s tennis academy in Henley Road, Ipswich, as well as the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Already being dubbed the ‘Rally for Bally’, the three exhibition matches have attracted some of the biggest names in tennis including Andy and Jamie Murray, Martina Navratilova and Tim Henman.

Last year a similar event held in support of doubles champion Ross Hutchins raised over £275,000 for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. Mr Hutchins was treated for Hodgkins lymphoma at the Royal Marsden last year.

Fed Cup captain Mrs Murray said: “We have had two of our best known players suffering with different types of cancer so we are trying to raise awareness and funds for the places that treat them, as well as Elena’s academy.

“It was very easy to get everyone involved, nobody hesitated a bit, and everyone was really keen to help and get behind it. The response to the one at Queen’s last year with Ross Hutchins was enormous. It raised a huge amount of money and hopefully this one will do the same.

“Everyone in tennis knows and loves Bally and wants to help her, and sadly everyone’s life is touched by cancer at some stage, whether personally or through friends and family. The Royal Marsden helps so many people in that situation. Bally set up her charity to help kids from disadvantaged backgrounds learn to play tennis, which says a lot about her. It will mean the world to her to know that it is being supported as well.”

The mixed doubles matches will take place on finals day at the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s club and the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, and another ahead of the Aegon International in Eastbourne.

Murray and Aegon Championships Tournament Director Ross Hutchins will play on opposing mixed doubles teams at The Queen’s Club, 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova, Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray will play in Birmingham, and Greg Rusedski and Jonny Marray will be on opposite teams in Eastbourne.

Britain’s three highest ranked women, Laura Robson, Jo Konta and Heather Watson, will also take part, with the specific line-up of teams to be announced at a later date.

In a recent interview Andy Murray said Baltacha had been “unbelievably positive” soon after finding out about her diagnosis.

A Rally For Bally JustGiving page has been set up, and donations can be made quickly and easily at www.justgiving.com/RallyForBally. Or, text “EBAL60 £10” to 70070, to make, for example, a £10 donation via your mobile phone.

Any finals day tickets purchased for the Aegon Championships between now and the event will see an additional £10 charged and donated to the fund. Tickets for the Aegon Championships will go on general sale today at 10am at www.aegonchampionships.com.

Ben Wragge

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Picture: Ian Burt

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Police Officers. Picture: James Bass.

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The Ipswich Foyer in Star Lane.

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