Zverev pledges Australian Open prize money to bushfire relief fund

leye aduloju /
Australian Open

World No. 7, Alexander Zverev has pledged to donate his entire Australian Open prize money to the victims of the devastating Australian bushfires- if he wins the tournament.

Zverev made the pledge after his 6-4 7-6 6-3 victory over Italian, Marco Cecchinato in the first round on Tuesday night.

The German vowed to donate $10,000 for every match he wins in Melbourne, adding that should he go on to win the tournament, he will give his entire prize money. The singles champions at the 2020 Australian Open will receive 4.12m Australian dollars (£2.21m).

“I really appreciate the fans staying out late”, Zverev said during his on-court post-match interview. “I will donate $10,000 for every match I win here and I know I’m not the favourite to win this event, but I’ll donate every single cent to the bushfire relief fund if I win the title.”

Zverev arrived the Australian Open still searching for his first win of the season, having lost all of his three singles matches at the ATP Cup, but the German finally got off the mark on Tuesday, beating Cecchinato to reach the second round in Melbourne for the fourth straight season.

“I didn’t play well at the ATP Cup, everybody saw that,” said Zverev. “I was struggling a lot with my serve, I was struggling a lot with my groundstrokes. I think I was much more stable [today] than I was there. This is a positive for me. Obviously, there’s a lot still to build.”

Zverev has often struggled with his serve over the past year, but the 22-year-old had a good serving day against Cecchinato, making a healthy 84% of his first serves, and winning 72% of points on those deliveries. He hit eight aces, and just four double faults in the 2 hours and 23-minute victory.

Next up for the former world No. 3 is a second round meeting with Belarusian, Egor Gerasimov, whom he faces for the first time on Thursday. Gerasimov took out Norwegian young gun, Casper Ruud in five sets to reach the second round of a major for just the second time in his career. He has never been past this stage of a Grand Slam.

Zverev is looking to reach the third round of the Australian Open for the fourth consecutive year, as he continues what he hopes will be his Grand Slam breakthrough.

Zverev vs Delbonis is live from Melbourne on Thursday, 23 January from 2:00pm local time/ 3:00am GMT