There is to be rather a different sort of tennis match at Queen's Club this year, as Andy Murray and Tim Henman will join forces for the Rally against Cancer, an exhibition doubles to raise funds for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The world-renowned cancer centre is taking care of one of tennis's own, Ross Hutchins, who has been receiving treatment at the Royal Marsden since being diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma at the end of 2012.
"Ever since I was diagnosed and began treatment at The Royal Marsden hospital I have wanted to do something to raise money for them to thank them for their kindness," Hutchins said, revealing that he has just concluded his second cycle of chemotherapy at the Royal Marsden. "It is an unbelievable place that helps thousands of people in situations similar to mine. I'd had the idea of running a tennis event, and was approached by Chris Kermode, the Tournament Director and the team at the LTA, who suggested doing something after the final of the Aegon Championships at The Queen's Club. I thought it was a great idea."
Murray, who dedicated his win at the Brisbane International in January this year to his friend and Davis Cup teammate, and Henman will be joined by other leading tennis players and some celebrities for the match, which will take place after the Aegon Championships' men's final on Sunday 16th June.
"As soon as Ross started talking about the idea, I knew I wanted to get involved," the two-time Queen's Club champion said. "We want to make it a day to remember, so we are talking to a few celebrities, who love their tennis, about coming down and getting involved on the day. I'm looking forward to helping raise as much money and awareness as possible so the charity can continue the amazing work it does, which I've heard all about through Ross."
Henman, who made his last competitive appearance at Queen's in 2007, is equally delighted to be involved. "This is a great idea and a great cause, and I'm happy to have been asked to take part. It will be fun to go out on the Centre Court at The Queen's Club again, and for the first time with Andy! Most importantly, it's an opportunity to raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity which supports the hospital that is treating Ross and makes such a difference to so many people," the former British No.1 said.
Cally Palmer, Chief Executive, The Royal Marsden, said: “We are delighted that Ross and the Aegon Championships are to host this exciting event in support of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. We are incredibly fortunate to have a huge amount of support from our patients and their friends and families. It means so much to the charity, the hospital and our staff and enables us to continue to go above and beyond in providing world-class cancer care for our patients.”
An additional £10 will be collected for each finals day ticket purchased and this will go directly to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, while The Lawn Tennis Association, which owns the Aegon Championships, will contribute £10 for every ace hit during the tournament. There will also be an auction set up to raise further money, and donations can be made directly and at any time on http://www.justgiving.com/RallyAgainstCancer2013. Alternatively, contributions can be made via text message by sending "RALL60 £10" to 70070, to make, for example, a £10 donation.