Rusedski and co celebrate life of Bally at Devonshire

Greg Rusedski and Petra Kivitova
Greg Rusedski and Petra Kivitova

The international tennis community joined together on Sunday for Rally for Bally to celebrate the life of Elena Baltacha, one of Britain’s most successful ever female players.

Baltacha, who was known as Bally, passed away on 4th May after battling liver cancer. Rally for Bally is the national fundraising effort which has been established in her memory and today saw three star-studded mixed doubles exhibition matches take place at The Queen’s Club in London, at the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham and at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne.

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, multi Grand Slam champions Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis and Victoria Azarenka, and former British numbers ones Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski, Anne Keothavong along with Heather Watson amongst others, all joined forces to raise money for the Elena Baltacha Foundation, the charity attached to Baltacha’s tennis academy, as well as the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. To date, over £55,000 in public donations has already been raised.

Players involved in the Rally For Bally across all three venues were: The Queen’s Club, London: Andy Murray, Ross Hutchins, Martina Hingis, Jamie Murray, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson and Laura Robson.

Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham: Martina Navratilova, Tim Henman, James Ward and Anne Keothavong.

Devonshire Park, Eastbourne: Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanksa, Greg Rusedski and Colin Fleming.

Greg Rusedski said, “It was a shock to everybody when Bally announced publicly that she had liver cancer.

“It was very very fast. It was just very sad as she had the rest of her life to enjoy, and to start a family and do whatever she wanted to do with her life.

“It just shows we have to live each day and not take life for granted.”

Andy Murray added,“Unfortunately I think we (Team Andy) lost it at the end but it was good fun.

“The kids from the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis were great and I hope they enjoyed it. I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots more of them in the future.”

A Rally For Bally JustGiving page has been set up, and donations can be made quickly and easily here: www.justgiving.com/RallyForBally. Or, text “EBAL60 £10” to 70070, to make, for example, a £10 donation via your mobile phone. We would be very grateful if you are able to tweet the link above, using the hashtag #Rally4Bally.

Thank you to everybody who has supported Rally for Bally and donated to this incredible cause.

For more information go to www.LTA.org.uk.