Colin Fleming, whose regular partner Ross Hutchins revealed a week ago that he is suffering from cancer, won the doubles title at the Auckland Open yesterday in partnership with Bruno Soares. The Briton and the Brazilian, playing together for the first time, beat Johan Brunstrom and Frederik Nielsen 7-6 7-6.
"It's obviously been a tough time," Fleming said after claiming the sixth title of his career. "It was just nice to be able to win and send a little message of support to Ross. It's all about positivity for him.
"Everyone in the tennis world is supporting him and it's just nice to be able to send that to him. He's got a tough fight ahead, but he's very positive and I know he's going to get through it."
Hutchins, who won three titles with Fleming as the two Britons climbed into the world's top 30 last year, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma two days after Christmas.
"I speak to him every day," Fleming said. "He wished me good luck for the final, as he did for every match. He started his chemotherapy on the 10th, so the fight's begun, so to speak. Rosco's comeback has started. I'm sure he's going to be strong. He's a really strong and positive person so he's got all the tools to overcome it."
Fleming, who will play doubles here with Jamie Murray, and Andy Murray were the first people outside his family Hutchins told about his diagnosis.
"He's one of my closest friends," Andy Murray said yesterday. "He's obviously going through a tough time just now. I think everyone needs to try and respect that. He needs all the support he can get. I've been passing it on to him, and everyone on the Tour – from stringers, coaches, players – is right behind him."