Federer, Nadal, Serena to play Rally for Relief Exhibition

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Tennis superstars, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams will participate at next week's Rally for Relief exhibition match in Melbourne, as the tennis community continues to rally in support of victims of the devastating Australian bushfires.

The Rally for Relief exhibition will be staged at the Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, 15 January, with proceeds going to relief efforts for victims of the bushfires.

The Rally for Relief is just one of a number of fund-raising events in Tennis Australia’s Aces for Bushfire Relief program.

The body has already pledged a $100 donation for every ace served at the ATP Cup in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, and has called on the international tennis community to try and reach and surpass the target of $100 per ace at all events in January.

The WTA has since joined in, and will donate $100 AUD for every ace served in singles and doubles matches at the Brisbane International, the ASB Classic in Auckland, Adelaide International and the Hobart International.

Australia has been experiencing some of the most devastating bushfires in its history, with about 25 people said to have lost their lives, and thousands of property destroyed.

Many tennis players have already made individual pledges to the relief efforts, with Nick Kyrgios, Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic amongst players who have offered financial assistance to the cause.

Kyrgios has been the most vocal in his support for the relief efforts, pledging to donate $200 for every ace he serves during the Australian summer. In an emotional piece on Athletes Voice, the Australian wrote about his devastation at the damage done by the fires, especially to the Australian wildlife. He pledged to support the Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES), as they attempt to protect animals from the bushfires.

“They’re also saying we’ve lost half a billion animals. I’ve been thinking, what does half a billion dead animals even look like?”, Kyrgios wrote.

“With their homes on fire, these animals have nowhere to go. I saw a photo of a koala sitting on a patch of unburnt grass recently, with flames all around it. It was completely helpless”.

“It’s been tough to concentrate on playing tennis lately, while my country and home is literally burning and people are losing their lives. But I try to draw strength from knowing that every ace I hit is going to a good cause”.

Kyrgios has been one of the stars of the ATP Cup so far, guiding the home nation into the semi-finals. The world No. 29 is unbeaten in singles matches, but his most memorable match of the tournament so far was arguably Thursday’s doubles rubber against Great Britain, where he teamed up with Alex De Minaur to score a thrilling 3-6 6-3 18-16 over the Brits, and lead the Aussies into the last four.