WTA – ST PETERSBURG, FL, USA — The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is encouraging tennis fans worldwide to pledge their support for the fundraising efforts for “Rally For Bally,” a series of exhibition tennis matches staged on Sunday, June 15, in memory of former British No.1 tennis player Elena Baltacha, who was affectionately known as “Bally” by her friends and those within the tennis community.
The “Rally For Bally” will feature a variety of current tennis stars and legends including Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova, Marion Bartoli, Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova taking part in mixed doubles exhibition matches across Great Britain at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and the Aegon International in Eastbourne. All funds raised will go to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the Elena Baltacha Foundation, the charity attached to the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.
“‘Rally For Bally’ is a great way to celebrate the never ending contributions Elena Baltacha has made to the game of tennis,” said WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster. “The WTA family is committed to keeping Bally’s dream, memory and legacy alive and through our efforts we hope to mobilize our fan base to give generously to this vitally important cause.”
In addition to “Rally For Bally”, the WTA fundraising initiative will see players, tournaments and staff worldwide donating directly to the Elena Baltacha Foundation, the charity founded four years ago to give more children from all backgrounds the opportunity to play tennis. WTA players will have the opportunity to donate a percentage of their prize money at upcoming grass court events at Birmingham, Eastbourne, ‘s-Hertogenbosch and The Championships, Wimbledon.
Baltacha was diagnosed with liver cancer just two months after retiring from professional tennis and just a few weeks after marrying longtime coach and partner Nino Severino. The former British No.1 succumbed to the disease on May 4, 2014, at 30 years of age.
Fans worldwide can donate to “Rally For Bally” by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/rallyforbally.