World No. 30, Nick Kyrgios has pledged to donate $200 for every ace he serves during the Australian summer in support of victims of the devastating bushfires that have hit Australia.
Raging bushfires have swept through Australia in the last couple of months, causing loss of life and property. Up to 17 people have died as a result of the fires, while tens of thousands more have been rendered homeless.
The bushfires are some of the worst in the country’s history, and have consumed more than 5.9 million hectares of land. Australia’s most populated state, New South Wales, has been the worst hit, but the fires have also affected other states, including Victoria, whose capital, Melbourne hosts the Australian Open later this month.
The fires have caused extreme heat and drought, and a significant drop in air quality, leading to concerns over the safety of players and spectators ahead of the ATP Cup. New South Wales capital, Sydney, is one of host venues of the tournament.
“We have got medical experts on site during the tournament who will be advising in relation to conditions and ensuring it is safe for players to play and also safe for our fans and our ball boys and staff,” said tournament director Tom Larner.
Despite desperate efforts by the authorities to curb the problem, it is showing no signs of abating, with temperatures expected to reach 46C on Saturday.
Kyrgios took to Twitter on Thursday to pledge his support to the victims, offering to donate $200 for every ace he serves during the Australian summer. The 24-year-old is set to compete at the inaugural ATP Cup, which runs from 3-12 January before heading to Melbourne for the Australian Open, live from Melbourne from 20 January to 2 February.
‘I’m kicking off the support for those affected by the fires. I’ll be donating $200 per ace that I hit across all the events I play this summer’, Kyrgios said on Twitter.
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) January 2, 2020
The Australian has since been joined by compatriots, Alex De Minaur and John Millman, who have vowed to give $250 and $100 respectively for every ace they hit. Former US Open champion, Sam Stosur also pledged to donate $200 to the cause.
— alex de minaur (@alexdeminaur) January 2, 2020
For every ACE I serve over the Aussie summer I’ll donate $200 to the bushfire relief to help raise funds to the families, firefighters and animals who are affected by this disaster. Please join me in any way you can #ausfires #ClimateEmegency #AustralianFires
— Samantha Stosur (@bambamsam30) January 2, 2020
Kyrgios had earlier called on Tennis Australia to organize an exhibition event to raise funds for those affected by the bushfires. The governing body responded on Thursday, with CEO, Craig Tiley stating on Twitter that a number of fund raising and relief efforts will be rolled out throughout the Australian summer.
“For weeks we’ve been watching the devastation caused by bushfires across Australia and the people affected are constantly in our thoughts,” Tiley said.
‘We want to help these communities in a meaningful way and will announce a number of fund-raising and support initiatives that will be rolled out across the ATP Cup, Australian Open and our other events over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for further announcements.’
The ATP Cup later announced that for every ace served during the tournament, $100 will be donated to the Australian Red Cross to aid their relief efforts. The fundraising initiative will be jointly funded by the ATP, Tennis Australia, Tennis New South Wales, Tennis Queensland and Tennis West.
‘Each ace served across the 10-day tournament at all three venues will deliver $100 to the Australian Red Cross bushfire disaster relief and recovery efforts’, read a statement on the tournament’s website.
The ATP Cup is live from Australia from 3-12 January.