Published: Thu, January 16, 2020
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Tennis stars raise A$5 million for Australian bushfire charity

Tennis stars raise A$5 million for Australian bushfire charity

A full house at Rod Laver Arena has helped the Australian Open's Rally for Relief raise nearly $5 million to aid bushfire charities.

That is the opinion of Eurosport tennis expert and seven-time Grand Slam victor Mats Wilander.

They were joined by a who's who of the tennis world, including Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Dominic Thiem, Coco Gauff, Nick Kyrgios, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev.

Tennis greats Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain pledged to donate 250,000 Australian dollars (172,000 US dollars) towards the Australian bushfire relief efforts at a charity event on Wednesday in the lead-up to the Australian Open.

Local player Nick Kyrgios raised A$1,600 (£954) in aces alone at Wednesday's Rally for Relief.

American Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, said she had taken her daughter, Olympia, to meet the firefighters.

But a competitive hit-out wasn't really his goal, he said.

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'When I was back home in Canberra, I couldn't even go outside (due to bushfire smoke). and I'm just so happy that we had Roger, Rafa, Novak - some of the greats - to get behind this. I wanted to raise awareness and raise money.

Federer also paired up with Nadal to donate A$ 250,000 from their own pockets too help with bushfire relief.

The 20-year-old, who is ranked 21st, suffered a muscle tear during the ATP Cup campaign, where he played four intense matches, including a three hour-and-24-minute defeat by Britain's Dan Evans and a three-set tussle with Rafael Nadal. "It was so emotional", said Kyrgios. "Now I've just got to look at what's ahead".

Australia is experiencing one of its worst bushfire seasons on record, with fires burning for months and killing 28 people, destroying more than 2,500 homes and razing forests and farmland the size of Bulgaria. "Everyone around the world, the awareness has grown and I think we're doing everything we possibly can to overcome this together".

Australian Nick Kyrgios has pledged 200 Australian dollars for every ace he hits this month.

The ATP on Sunday pledged $500,000 to the WWF Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund as part of the bushfire relief efforts.

Toxic haze from the blazes has disrupted the build-up to next week's Australian Open, with qualifying delayed over the past two days and some players taken ill.

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