The superstars of world tennis will gather on Sunday afternoon in Melbourne for a special exhibition to raise money for the victims of Australiaâ€™s flood disaster.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters, Sam Stosur, Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djokovic, and Pat Rafter headline a glittering list of tennisâ€™ elite who will momentarily put aside their Australian Open preparations for the Rally for Relief tennis match at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday at 2pm
Many in the international tennis fraternity have been horrified by the disaster.
â€œAlong with many of the other players I was moved by the devastation caused by the floods in Australia,â€ Federer said today. â€œWe just wanted to do something to help aid the recovery because we know there are thousands of Australians who will continue to suffer as a result of this disaster.â€
â€œThis is a terrible tragedy, not only the loss of life but the destruction of peopleâ€™s homes,â€ Nadal said. I am pleased to be able to contribute in some way to help bring it to the attention of the world and raise some money for the victims in the process.â€
â€œAs an Australian I cannot help but be touched by such an awful turn of events. It is a disaster on a massive scale,â€ Hewitt explained. â€œAustralians are incredible at pulling together in times of crisis and this is certainly one of those times. If the tennis community can also help play a role in the recovery then we should, both in Australia and internationally. I just think at a time like this it is a case of getting all hands on deck.â€
Queenslanders Pat Rafter and Sam Stosur officially announced the Rally for Relief at the Medibank International Sydney as a key plank in a major fundraising campaign by the entire international tennis community
â€œThe plight of the flood victims has well and truly struck a chord with the entire tennis fraternity,â€ Rafter said. â€œAs a Queenslander I am really heartened by the concern and the keenness from our sport to get in and do something to ease the suffering.Â I know on the scale of things our contribution is only a small one, but it is good to be able to help out.â€
Sam Stosur said she was touched by the many expressions of concern for the flood victims from her fellow tennis professionals, officials, administrators, coaches and fans. Her own family was displaced by floods in the 1980s and she is keen to contribute to a big fundraising effort.
â€œA lot of us just want to make some sort of contribution. It breaks my heart to see what is happening to thousands of people in these floods. I am rapt that the biggest names in our sport are so keen to focus on this despite the fact that the Australian Open starts the next day.
Stosur is already donating $100 for every ace she serves this summer.
Players in lead up events in Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth and Kooyong have all been enquiring as to how they can help the flood ravaged communities and pledging money and assistance.
Tennis Australia will co-ordinate the tennis communityâ€™s fundraising effort which will run throughout Australian Open 2011. The campaign includes:
- Sunday afternoonâ€™s Rally for Relief
- A gold coin donation at Saturdayâ€™s Kids Tennis Day
- A special â€œShirt off their backsâ€ ongoing auction of autographed player apparel belonging to some of the biggest names in the sport
- An ATP and WTA pledge of $10 for every ace served by players at the Brisbane International, Medibank International Sydney, Moorilla International in Hobart and the Australian Open.
All proceeds will go to flood relief across the nation.
Tickets to Rally for Relief are $20 for entry to Rod Laver Arena and will be available through Ticketek from 3:00pm today at www.ticketek.com.au.
Tickets will also be available from the Melbourne Park and Fed Square Box Offices, operating hours are as follows:
Thursday 13 JanuaryÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 3:00pm to 5.00pm
Friday 14 and Saturday 15 JanuaryÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 9:00am to 5:00pm
Sunday 16Â JanuaryÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â from 9:00am