Tennis stars unite to raise money

Blackpool Citizen: Elena Baltacha was diagnosed with liver cancer in March Elena Baltacha was diagnosed with liver cancer in March

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and Martina Navratilova are among a host of tennis stars set to raise money as part of a second 'rally against cancer' in June.

With former British number one Elena Baltacha recently diagnosed with liver cancer, British tennis has come together to organise the 'Rally For Bally' - Baltacha's nickname - on June 15.

It follows a similar event last year which was arranged following the news that British doubles star Ross Hutchins had Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Stars will take part in mixed doubles matches - one at the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club, one at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and the other at the Aegon International in Eastbourne - on that day.

The proceeds will be split equally between the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.

Murray and Hutchins, who is now the tournament director at the Aegon Championships, will play on opposing mixed doubles teams at Queen's.

Eighteen-time Grand Slam singles champion Navratilova, Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray will play in Birmingham, while 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 are also set to take part, although Robson is currently sidelined with a wrist injury.

Navratilova, who overcame breast cancer in 2010, said: "Cancer is an opponent that we all must fight against.

"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."

Fed Cup captain Judy Murray has known Baltacha since she was a child starting out in the game in Scotland. Latterly the pair have worked closely together in connection with Baltacha's tennis academy in Ipswich.

Murray told Press Association Sport: "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.

"Elena is fighting it with everything that she's got. She has always had a tremendous competitive spirit and she is taking that with her into this battle."

:: Donations can be made via www.justgiving.com/RallyForBally, while the campaign is being promoted on Twitter through #rally4bally.

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