To kickoff tennis this 2020, the Australian Open is scheduled to begin on January 20 in Melbourne Park.
If not for the widespread bushfires in Australia that are currently raging the southeast, devastating homes, livelihood, forests, and wildlife.
Other than the concerns on the safety of the organizers, officials, players, and fans, the tennis players themselves have shown concerns about Australia and its people and wildlife.
Australia bushfire relief initiatives
Understanding the gravity of the situation, the tennis players themselves initiated a rallying cry for support.
Nick Kyrgios broke down during one of his interviews after an ATP Cup win. He revealed his difficulty focusing on his play, knowing that Australia and specifically, Canberra, his hometown, are being devastated by the bushfires.
Kyrgios said, “I’m glad the tennis world has taken the initiative, and hopefully, we can do whatever we can.”
- Kyrgios started fundraising that reached to $700,000; he pledged $140 for every ace he hits for a total of $2,775
- Following Kyrgios, other players also donated their aces: Alex de Minaur ($175), John Millman ($70), and Samantha Stosur ($140)
- Following the tweets, Simona Halep did not commit her aces admitting she doesn’t hit several aces but instead will donate $200 each time she gave her coach a hard time in the box during all her matches in Australia
- Kyrgios also tweeted Tennis Australia urging the organization to schedule an exhibition match
- Tennis Australia pledged $700,000 to repair the damaged tennis facilities
- The organization plans to donate $70 for each ace hit during the ATP Cup expected to be at $105,000 (the target is $150,000 with at least 1,500 aces)
- Ashleigh Barty donated her Brisbane International winnings (which could be up to $265,000) to the relief efforts spearheaded by the Australian Red Cross
- Barty also donated $20,850 in December 2019 to support the bushfire-affected wildlife
- Maria Sharapova donated $17,400 while Novak Djokovic matched her financial support
- Karolina Pliskova will also give $200 for every ace she hits while playing in Australia
- WTA will donate $70 for each ace served at the Brisbane International, ASB Classic, Adelaide International, and Hobart International; the current tally of aces is 700
Exhibition match at Melbourne
Tennis Australia is holding an exhibition match called Rally for Relief at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne Park. The match is a part of the Aces for Bushfire Relief program that the organization launched in the first week of January.
The match will happen on January 15, 6:30 pm. Tickets are already available at ticketmaster.com.au.
It will feature Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal (although this detail is yet to be confirmed by the organization).
For the WTA, in an effort to help Tennis Australia, signed items will be auctioned off during the match.
Raising awareness and offering support through various fundraising opportunities are happening on social media. Hashtags #WTA4Love and #Aces4BushfireRelief were used.WTA players are directly asking fans to direct their donations to the Australian Red Cross at www.redcross.org.au/tennis.
In an effort to help the Australian bushfire relief efforts, please head to www.redcross.org.au/tennis. Let’s ace this!