BRITISH TENNIS TO RALLY FOR BALLY
Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova and Tim Henman will lead an all-star line up at exhibition matches in three of the country's biggest tournaments as British Tennis stages a second Rally Against Cancer charity event - 'Rally For Bally' - on Sunday 15th June.
The ‘Rally For Bally’ will feature three mixed doubles matches - one each on finals day at the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club and the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, and another ahead of the Aegon International in Eastbourne - with proceeds being split equally between the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis. Baltacha, or ‘Bally’ as she is known, revealed recently that she had been diagnosed with liver cancer.
Murray and Aegon Championships Tournament Director Ross Hutchins will play on opposing mixed doubles teams at The Queen’s Club, 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova, Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray will play in Birmingham, and 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, will also take part, with the specific line-up of teams announced at a later date.
Judy Murray, the Great Britain Fed Cup captain, said: “Everyone in tennis knows and loves Bally and wants to help her, and sadly everyone's life is touched by cancer at some stage, whether personally or through friends and family. The Royal Marsden helps so many people in that situation. Bally set up her charity to help kids from disadvantaged backgrounds learn to play tennis, which says a lot about her. It will mean the world to her to know that is being supported as well."
Hutchins, who underwent treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma last year at The Royal Marsden and worked on the first Rally Against Cancer event at The Queen’s Club in 2013, said: “We are determined to do everything we can to raise as much money as possible for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity to fight against cancer and for the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which means so much to Bally. As soon as the news of Elena’s diagnosis came out, everyone in British tennis, and indeed around the world, wanted to help, and that is shown by how quickly all the British players and players from around the world, including one of the all-time greats in Martina, wanted to be part of it. We will have all three of our recent Wimbledon champions - Andy and Jamie Murray, and Jonny Marray, one at each venue, and I hope everyone will get behind this cause in just the same way as last year.”
Navratilova, who battled and 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.”
Cally Palmer, Chief Executive of The Royal Marsden, said: “I am delighted that British Tennis and The Queen's Club is once again coming together to support The Royal Marsden. Their support enables us to continue to provide world-class cancer care for our patients, and cancer patients across the UK.”
In 2013, in the first Rally Against Cancer fundraiser, Murray and Henman played in a doubles match against Ivan Lendl and Tomas Berdych on finals day at the Aegon Championships, with the London Mayor Boris Johnson, Jonathan Ross, Michael McIntyre, Jimmy Carr, Sir Richard Branson and Eddie Redmayne joining them to raise money for the Royal Marsden hospital, which treated Hutchins. The Royal Marsden is now the official charity of the Aegon Championships at The Queen's Club.
A Rally For Bally JustGiving page has been set up, and donations can be made quickly and easily here: http://www.justgiving.com/RallyForBally
Or, text "EBAL60 £10" to 70070, to make, for example, a £10 donation via your mobile phone.
Any finals day tickets purchased for the Aegon Championships between now and the event will see an additional £10 charged and donated to the fund. Tickets for the Aegon Championships will go on general sale today at 10am at www.aegonchampionships.com.
About The Royal Marsden
The Royal Marsden is a world-leading cancer centre specialising in diagnosis, treatment, care, education and research. The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity raises money to help The Royal Marsden provide world-class care for cancer patients, to support the hospital’s pioneering work in cancer research. The charity enables the hospital to continue its groundbreaking work for the benefit of cancer patients worldwide.
About the Elena Baltacha Foundation
The Elena Baltacha Foundation is a charity set up in 2012 by Elena Baltacha and her husband Nino Severino to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds and deprived areas to learn to play tennis. The charity funds free and subsidised coaching via the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis and also supports free tennis taster sessions in schools in all sections of the community. The charity is based in Ipswich, UK.
IN-FORM DOLGOPOLOV JOINS MURRAY & BERDYCH IN AEGON CHAMPIONSHIPS LINE-UP
In-form Alex Dolgopolov has joined Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych in the field for the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club, 9th-15th June, and says he is playing the best tennis of his life.
Dolgopolov, who has beaten the two most recent Grand Slam champions and three of the four highest ranked players in the world this year, has risen from 57 in the rankings at the end of 2013 to No.23.
Aegon Championships Tournament Director Ross Hutchins is delighted that Dolgopolov has committed to play at The Queen’s Club.
‘Alex is a natural born entertainer, and his recent form is just a glimpse of how special a player he is,” said Hutchins. “In terms of sheer talent, he is one of the most exciting players in the sport, and the things he can do on a tennis court bring spectators to their feet. With Alex, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych already confirmed, we are in for a fantastic week at the Aegon Championships.”
Dolgopolov, who reached the final in Rio de Janeiro and holds wins over Rafael Nadal, Stanislas Wawrinka and David Ferrer this year, is already looking forward to it.
“It’s a really good tournament, the courts are really good, and it’s great to be in London for some weeks,” he said. “It is all good preparation for Wimbledon, I really enjoyed it last year and I’m looking forward to being there again.”
Dolgopolov has been ranked as high as No.13, but even though he is currently 10 places lower, he believes he is in the form of his life.
“This is the best tennis I’ve ever played,” he said. “I’ve been in the Top 20 before but I wasn’t close to this level - mentally, physically, everywhere. I was risking a lot (on the court), I would play unbelievable matches sometimes before, but I was not as solid as I am now on the court. I am taking tennis more seriously now, I’m more concentrated on the game than on other stuff, and if you do the hard work, have the right team, and have a bit of luck, it pays off. I’m really happy that I’m getting results.”
TOMAS BERDYCH JOINS MURRAY IN AEGON CHAMPIONSHIPS LINE-UP & TARGETS WIMBLEDON TITLE
The 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych has joined Andy Murray in confirming that he will compete for the Aegon Championships title, 9th-15th June, and set his sights set on going one better at the All England Club.
Berdych, who has reached the semi-finals in all four of the Grand Slam tournaments during his career, is determined to go all the way at The Championships, Wimbledon, but first he can’t wait to return to The Queen’s Club.
“I have to say that I have never played on a better grass court than at the Aegon Championships, and The Queen’s Club itself is just beautiful,” said Berdych, who reached the quarter-finals last year - his first appearance since 2005. “I had heard how nicely everything was organised and how well the players were taken care of, but my experience was even better. I was really impressed.”
Berdych, the World No.7, bowed out to eventual runner-up Marin Cilic last year in the final eight, but he had already proved his grass court prowess in 2010 by going all the way to the Wimbledon final. This year the Czech has won the title in Rotterdam, reached the Dubai final, and the Australian Open semi-finals. He believes his best is yet to come.
“My next goal is to go one better, one higher than I did when I reached the final of Wimbledon,” he said. “That’s my main goal for the rest of my career. It’s a really big step, and it’s going to take a lot of work every day to get there, but that’s what I’m going to try to do. I think playing at Queen’s gives me the best possible chance. I would also love to lift that beautiful Aegon Championships trophy.”
New Tournament Director Ross Hutchins was delighted that Berdych had committed to play: “Tomas is one of the most exciting players in the game and it’s great news that he has pledged to return to the Aegon Championships,” said Hutchins. “His raw power and booming game style are a sight to behold and I know the crowds at The Queen’s Club will enjoy watching him play.”
David Macmillan, Chief Marketing Officer, Aegon UK, added: ''This is fantastic news. With Andy Murray already confirmed for this summer's award winning Aegon Championships it's great news that Tomas Berdych is also returning to The Queen's Club in June."
The Media Accreditation system for the Aegon Championships is now open. To apply, click here and follow the instructions: http://goo.gl/a1gbxc
For more information about the event, please go to the official Aegon Championships website: http://www.aegonchampionships.com
ROSS HUTCHINS APPOINTED AEGON CHAMPIONSHIPS TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR
British tennis player Ross Hutchins has been appointed the new Tournament Director of the Aegon Championships, the annual grass court tournament at The Queen’s Club in London.
Hutchins, who returned to the court this year with partner Colin Fleming after recovering from Hodgkins Lymphoma last year, joins the tournament’s managing director Stephen Farrow in taking on the responsibilities of Chris Kermode, who recently became the Executive President and Chairman of the ATP. Hutchins will be responsible for tennis decisions and player/ATP relations during the tournament week, advising on tournament strategy throughout the year, and speaking publicly on behalf of the tournament. He will report to Farrow, who has overall responsibility for the event.
Last year at the Aegon Championships, Hutchins led the organisation of Rally Against Cancer - a charity tennis match played on finals day which featured Andy Murray, Ivan Lendl and Tim Henman, as well as London Mayor Boris Johnson, Jonathan Ross and Michael McIntyre - to raise money for the Royal Marsden, the hospital that had treated him. The event set out to raise £100,000, and eventually brought in more than £300,000.
Michael Downey, Chief Executive of the LTA, said: “Ross is a very impressive young man and he is the perfect fit to be the new Tournament Director of the Aegon Championships. He has the respect of his peers, is well known and liked throughout the tennis world, and brings with him current, direct experience of the ATP World Tour. Ross will work closely with the tournament’s outstanding team, led by managing director Stephen Farrow, and I am confident that under their stewardship, the tournament, which was recently voted ATP 250 Tournament of the Year, will go from strength to strength.”
Hutchins said. “I am honoured to have been given this opportunity. The Aegon Championships is one of the longest running and best tournaments on the ATP World Tour, and I will do everything I can to make it even better. It has always been a special event for me as a player because it was the first main tour tournament I ever played, but my appreciation for the event grew further last year when I had the chance to work with the fantastic tournament team on the Rally Against Cancer charity match. I was fascinated by how much work went on behind the scenes, and I loved being involved with it. Chris Kermode invited me to join him in meetings, I was able to work alongside Stephen Farrow and the team, and I embraced the opportunity to learn from them. When Chris moved on to head the ATP, I knew that this was a role I wanted. I have the same passion and desire to succeed at this as I have in my tennis career, and I think my experience on the tour will equip me well. I know and understand what matters to players, I’ve spent a lot of time with Tournament Directors, sponsors and the media, and I think I have a good understanding of what makes a great tournament.”
Chris Kermode said: “I worked with Ross on the Rally Against Cancer last year, and with Stephen Farrow and the rest of the tournament team for many years, and the tournament is in safe hands. The way Ross threw himself into organising the charity match last year at a time when he was going through chemotherapy, was an inspiration. Everyone likes Ross, and his drive, determination, passion and positive attitude will ensure he is a huge success in this role.”
Aside from not competing in the Aegon Championships, Hutchins will continue his tennis playing-career as normal.
AEGON CHAMPIONSHIPS AT QUEEN'S VOTED ATP 250 TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR
The Aegon Championships has been voted ATP 250 Tournament of the Year by the players of the ATP World Tour in the 2013 awards.
It is the first time that the Aegon Championships, held every June on grass at The Queen’s Club in London, has received the award, which had gone to the tournament in Bastad, Sweden for the previous 11 years.
Michael Downey, Chief Executive at the Lawn Tennis Association, said: “We are delighted to receive this award which recognises the fabulous jobs that our Aegon Championships team, The Queen's Club and our long-time Tournament Director and now the ATP's Executive Chairman and President, Chris Kermode, have done over the years. We are now building towards making the 2014 event a success, with our sights also set firmly on 2015, when the tournament will attain ATP-500 status for the first time, at the heart of an expanded grass court season."
Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said: “Many congratulations to the Aegon Championships for being voted as the ATP World Tour 250 of the year in 2013. delighted that the tournament has been recognised through this award, which is truly well deserved."
David Macmillan, Chief Marketing Officer, Aegon UK, added: “For the Aegon Championships to be voted the ATP 250 tournament of the year by the players is the best possible accolade. Great credit should be given to the LTA’s tournament team that work so hard in partnership with The Queen’s Club who allow their club to be transformed every year to be ready to host this world class tennis event.”
The Tournament Awards recognise leading standards set within the ATP World Tour. The other tournament category awards went to Shanghai (Masters 1000) and Dubai (ATP 500). The Aegon Championships will be re-categorised as an ATP 500 event from 2015.
The tournament at The Queen’s Club also received an additional award for Best Player Services for the European Group in 2013, as voted by ATP staff.
The event has been staged at The Queen’s Club for more than a century, and the grass courts have been described as “the best in the world” by former champions Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, and current title-holder, Andy Murray, amongst many others.
Murray, who completed the Aegon Championships-Wimbledon double in 2013, has already confirmed that he will return, 9th-15th June, to try to join Roddick, Hewitt, John McEnroe and Boris Becker as the only four-time winners of one of the biggest, and most famous trophies in tennis.
25th February 2014
JANUARY 2014: WIMBLEDON CHAMPION CONFIRMS AEGON CHAMPIONSHIPS TITLE DEFENCE
The Aegon Championships and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has confirmed that he will return to The Queen’s Club 9th-15th June 2014 to try to join some illustrious names as the only four-time winners of one of the most famous trophies in tennis.
Murray lifted the giant silver cup for the third time at the Aegon Championships seven months ago before becoming the first British man to triumph at The Championships, Wimbledon in 77 years. He has the same number of titles (3) as Jimmy Connors, and one more than Pete Sampras and Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl. A fourth title at The Queen’s Club would put Murray alongside John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick at the top of the honour roll in the Open Era. Rod Laver, Ilie Nastase, Stefan Edberg and Rafael Nadal have also won the title.
“To win the title for the third time last year and then to go on to win Wimbledon was really special, and it highlights the importance of Queen's,” said Murray. “The grass courts there are as good as any in the world and it's a great event. It's also a tournament with a lot of history, both personally for me and for the game as a whole. It's where I won my first professional match and my first title in Britain, and when you look at the names on the trophy, including my coach Ivan Lendl, it shows how big a tournament it is to win. I'd love to do it again.”
After lifting the trophy without dropping a set in 2009, Murray triumphed again in spectacular fashion two years later, winning a thrilling, rain-delayed Monday final against Jo Wilfried Tsonga. Last year, he fought past the 2012 winner Marin Cilic in the final.
His victory in 2013 was all the more special because of what followed over the subsequent couple of hours. Inspired to help Ross Hutchins to raise money for the Royal Marsden Hospital that had treated his friend for Hodgkins lymphoma, Murray joined forces with Tim Henman to take on Lendl and Tomas Berdych in a celebrity doubles match. They were then joined by The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Jonathan Ross, Michael McIntyre and Sir Richard Branson to continue the entertainment.
“Last year was even more memorable with the Rally Against Cancer match we held afterwards to help the Royal Marsden,” said Murray, who contributed his £73,000 winners’ cheque to a fund that topped a quarter of a million pounds. “It’s a day I’ll never forget.”
Unless Great Britain beat the United States in February and play a home Davis Cup tie in the quarterfinals in April, the Aegon Championships will be the next opportunity for tennis fans to see Murray play in the flesh on British soil.
Tickets for the Aegon Championships are sold via a Ballot and then a General Sale.
For more information about tickets, and how to watch the tournament in style and entertain guests via hospitality packages, go to www.aegonchampionships.com
In 2015, the status of the tournament will increase further when it is re-categorized to an ATP World Tour 500 event (from its current 250 status), with increased ranking points and prize money on offer.
NOVEMBER 2013: ATP ANNOUNCES MULTI-YEAR PRIZE MONEY INCREASES ACROSS ATP WORLD TOUR 500 TOURNAMENTS
Grass-court season to be strengthened as Queen’s and Halle become ATP World Tour 500 events from 2015
The ATP has announced significant prize money increases that will see player compensation increase by an average of 10% annually over the next five years across ATP World Tour 500 tournaments. The total prize money across the ATP World Tour 500 category will increase from $17.6 million in 2013 to $30.8 million in 2018.
In addition, the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, London, as well as the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, will be re-categorized as ATP World Tour 500 events from 2015, when the calendar will feature a three-week grass-court swing in between Roland Garros and The Championships, Wimbledon.
Laurent Delanney, CEO ATP Europe, said: “We are delighted to have reached this outcome which sees significant prize money increases for the players, as well as the addition of two very strong tournaments in Queen’s and Halle to the ATP World Tour 500 category from 2015. The decision not only strengthens the 500s category as a whole but also enhances the grass-court season leading into Wimbledon. It is a terrific outcome for our players, tournaments and the sport as a whole.”
Queen’s and Halle will join Rotterdam, Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, Acapulco, Barcelona, Hamburg, Washington, Tokyo, Beijing, Valencia and Basel as ATP World Tour 500 events.
Simon Long, LTA Chief Commercial Officer, said: “The Aegon Championships is a world class sporting event and a fixture of the British summer calendar. Our investment in upgrading the tournament will inspire more people to play and follow tennis, and further strengthen the grass court season in the run up to The Championships, Wimbledon, so I would like to thank our partners at the ATP and the All England Club for their support in achieving this important result.”
Ralf Weber, Tournament Director of the Gerry Weber Open, said: “This is a very proud moment for us, and a true reflection of the success of the Gerry Weber Open over the past two decades. The ATP has honoured our commitment as well as our innovations over the past 21 years, and we are delighted to be joining the ATP World Tour 500 category. We have played a decisive role in raising the importance and stature of lawn tennis on the international tennis calendar, and we look forward to many successful years ahead.”
Philip Brook, Chairman of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, said: “When we announced the creation of a three-week gap between Roland Garros and Wimbledon from 2015, our aim was to establish a longer and more significant grass court season as part of the international tennis calendar. Many people have since worked very hard to bring this about and I am delighted to welcome today’s announcement of the increases in prize money and the elevation in status of the Aegon Championships and Gerry Weber Open. Both events have been key pillars in promoting grass court tennis for many years and I wish to thank the ATP, LTA and Halle for their contribution and enthusiasm in helping to turn an exciting vision into an exciting reality.”
The player commitment for ATP World Tour 500 tournaments throughout the five-year period remains at 4 tournaments, including one after the US Open.
The ATP will announce the full 2015 ATP World Tour calendar in due course.
8 November 2013
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