© Ella Ling

Miami 2012 - Fleming and Hutchins

Murray, Henman sign up for Rally Against Cancer


Andy Murray and Tim Henman played each other four times as their careers overlapped, Murray winning three of them in what was a rather obvious passing of the baton, in British tennis at least. With Henman playing golf several times a week, the two men have not set foot on a court together since but that will be rectified this summer as they join forces to help Ross Hutchins in his fight against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of cancer.

Hutchins, who together with Colin Fleming finished just one spot away from a place in the season-ending Word Tour finals for the top eight doubles pair, is in the middle of his chemotherapy treatment, which is being carried out at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital.

To highlight the great work being done there, for Hutchins and numerous other cancer sufferers, Murray and Henman are to take part in Rally Against Cancer, an exhibition doubles event to be held at London’s Queen’s Club on finals day of the Aegon Championships, Sunday June 16. Money raised on the day will go towards The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, which supports The Royal Marsden Hospital. Both Murray, one of Hutchins’ closest friends, and Henman said they had not needed asking twice.

“As soon as Ross starting talking about the idea, I knew I wanted to get involved,” Murray 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 retired in 2007, said he was looking forward to being back on a big stage. “This is a great idea and a great cause, and I’m happy to have been asked to take part,” he said. “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. I’m sure everyone involved in tennis and on the day will get behind it to raise as much money as possible.”

Hutchins may yet take part in the on-court festivities, depending on his treatment, but the Englishman said raising money was the most important thing. “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,” he said.

“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 (at Queen’s) 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. I then asked Andy (Murray), and straight away he said he was up for it, that he would love to play for the charity. Now Tim has said he will play, too, which is fantastic. It’s going to be a really great day and for a charity that helps a lot of people and obviously one that means a lot to me.”

For each finals day ticket purchased, £10 will go directly to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The LTA will also give £10 for every ace hit during the tournament and there will be an auction set up to raise further money. Further donations can be made directly and at any time by going to: http://www.justgiving.com/RallyAgainstCancer2013. Or, contributions can be made via text message by sending  ”RALL60 £10″ to 70070, to make, for example, a £10 donation.

The Aegon Championships takes place 10th-16th June. For more information, please go to http://www.aegonchampionships.com

Perhaps the fact that he’s going to be playing on finals day will inspire Murray to reach the final of the singles himself, having lost early last year, before going on to reach his first Wimbledon final.