Brisbane QLD, Australia, 2 January 2015 | Tennis Australia

The world’s best tennis players will serve with their hearts in Brisbane next week in aid of Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland (RMH SEQ).

Ronald McDonald House has been appointed the official charity of choice for Brisbane International 2015 presented by Suncorp, with corporate affiliate McDonald’s also set to join the action as an all-new tournament sponsor.

Every ace served on Pat Rafter Arena next week will see $100 donated to RMH SEQ by tournament partner Treasury Casino & Hotel, to contribute towards the development of the charity’s new South Brisbane House.

The Aces for Hearts campaign forms part of a $3 million pledge to RMH SEQ by Treasury Casino & Hotel and Jupiters Hotel & Casino, supported by parent company Echo Entertainment Group Limited.

Today big-serving Brisbane International 2015 wildcard Sam Groth (Vic), who holds the record for the world’s fastest serve, made a surprise visit to seriously ill children and their families at RMH SEQ to launch the tournament’s new charity partnership and the Aces for Hearts initiative.

“Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland is a home away from home for so many families when they need it most,” Groth said.

“It’s an honour to be part of this year’s fundraising effort to help the charity accommodate even more families in their time of need, and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of aces served on Pat Rafter Arena in support of this great cause.”

Groth served the most aces of any player in the men’s draw at Brisbane International 2014 with 53 to his name, including the fastest serve of the tournament at 234km/h.

With six Grand Slam champions set to compete in Brisbane next week Tournament Director Cameron Pearson said the Aces for Heartsinitiative was set to deliver a significant windfall to RMH SEQ.

“This is a wonderful initiative to raise vital funds for Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland, a shared charity partner of both Brisbane International and Treasury Casino & Hotel,” Pearson said.

“There were almost 500 aces served on Pat Rafter Arena at Brisbane International 2014 and I have no doubt the players at this year’s event will be spurred on by this great incentive.”

Pearson also welcomed new sponsor McDonald’s to the Brisbane International family.

“We’re thrilled to be working with such a globally recognised and family friendly brand as McDonald’s and look forward to continuing our partnership into the future,” he said.

Echo Entertainment Group Managing Director Queensland, Geoff Hogg, said the Aces for Hearts initiative exemplified Echo’s proud history of charitable and community contributions.

“We value and are committed to the communities in which we live and work and we’re proud of the programs and initiatives we have in place to support Queensland charities and organisations,” he said.

“As a proud supporter of both the Brisbane International and Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland, it’s a tremendous joy for Treasury Casino & Hotel to bring the two organisations together in this way.

“On behalf of all team members at Treasury Casino & Hotel, I lay down a challenge to all Brisbane International players to serve up as many aces as possible throughout the event. Let’s make this a record year for Brisbane International and the families at Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland.”

The Aces for Hearts campaign complements Echo’s first pledge to RMH SEQ of $1 million, to be delivered in early 2015.

Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland Business and Finance Manager, Steve Whitehead, said funds raised would help towards the development of one of the world’s largest Ronald McDonald Houses.

“Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland offers a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families. The accommodation, learning and support services take away some of the burden that families experience when they are faced with caring for a sick or injured child so far from home,” he said.

“Brisbane International and Treasury Casino & Hotel are just ace to come on board and offer their wonderful support.”

The new South Brisbane House will accommodate up to 450 people every night, more than double the number accommodated at the charity’s existing facilities in South East Queensland.

Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland will also receive funds raised via the Nova Giant Cup promotion to be held on Tennis Central throughout next week’s tournament, and a special auction at Sunday’s A Summer Night with the Stars of International Tennis, which will be attended by 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer (SUI).

Brisbane International 2015, presented by Suncorp and supported by Tourism and Events Queensland, will be held at Queensland Tennis Centre from 4-11 January. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketek.

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The tournament is part of the Emirates Australian Open Series, which also incorporates Hopman Cup (Perth), Apia International Sydney, Hobart International and World Tennis Challenge (Adelaide).