September 24 2014 Latest news:
Monday, March 10, 2014
Andy Murray is keen to get involved in a second Rally Against Cancer this summer - and hopes Elena Baltacha will too.
The charity fundraiser that followed the 2013 AEGON Championships final was the idea of Ross Hutchins, who underwent six months of chemotherapy last year after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hutchins’ great friend Murray played in a doubles match with Tim Henman against coach Ivan Lendl and Tomas Berdych before various celebrities took to the court.
The event raised more than £275,000 for the Royal Marsden Hospital, where Hutchins received treatment.
The 29-year-old British Davis Cup player was told he was in remission in July and returned to action at the start of this season.
But on Friday, Ipswich-based Baltacha, a long-time British number one who retired in November, announced she too is battling the disease after being diagnosed with liver cancer.
Murray has known Baltacha since they were young children in Scotland, and she remains very close to his mother Judy.
There has been no indication that the Rally Against Cancer was anything but a one-off, but Murray hopes if a similar event can be organised for 2014 that it can help Baltacha in the same way it did Hutchins.
He said: “If there’s anything I could do - I’m sure any of the guys on the tour and the girls, if there’s anything we could do that could help, we would.
“I’m sure this year, if we do the Rally Against Cancer at Queen’s, that’s something that would definitely be great to get Elena involved in at an early stage.
“I believe that helped Ross a little bit as well so maybe that would be a nice thing to do.”
Hutchins threw himself into organising the 2013 event and said on Friday how much having goals had helped him deal with what he was going through.
It also involved him in the running of the AEGON Championships, and last week Hutchins was named as the new tournament director, a very unusual role for a current player.
Having been a key source of support for Hutchins, Murray was stunned to discover another of his peers is fighting cancer.
He said: “I heard about it from my mum a couple of weeks ago, she’d gone in to see her in the hospital. You’re obviously shocked to hear that.
“I’ve known Bally for a long time. I don’t know her as well as I know Ross, but it’s still shocking. She’s so young, she’s just retired, you’re expecting her to enjoy just a nice happy life. She’s just got married as well so you feel bad. Life is very, very unfair.
“I think she has the right attitude. My mum told me that she was unbelievably positive very soon after finding out.”