Last year it was “Hit for Haiti”. This year the need is literally much closer to Roger Federer and the other top tennis players who are gathering Down Under before the Australian Open.
Here’s a photo of Pat Rafter Arena under water, where just a few days ago a relatively dry Robin Soderling was hoisting the trophy at the Brisbane International tennis tournament.
Photo via @atpworldtour
The state of Queensland has been ravaged by deadly flooding and the riverside city of Brisbane, the third largest city in Australia, is currently being inundated as the waters rise in what the New York Times describes as an “inland tsunami” rolling across the region. At least 22 people have died so far in the flooding – 12 confirmed this week – and many more are still missing. It’s very bad and it’s not ending any time soon.
Roger Federer is in Melbourne, already practicing on Rod Laver Arena. He says he’s also working on putting together a tennis exhibition in support of the hundreds of thousands/millions of people who will be affected by this horrendous natural disaster. Via Federer’s Facebook page:
The floods here in Australia are devastating! I am on my way to practice now and am going to speak with Tennis Australia to see if we perhaps can organize something on Sunday to help raise some funds for the people of Queensland who have been affected…stay tuned as it would be great if the sport of tennis can help out right before the Australian Open begins.
Something tells me he can make this happen.
The ATP and WTA tours are already rallying to the cause. The organizations have pledged to donate $10 for every ace hit by a player in Brisbane, this week’s Sydney tournament and at the big show in Melbourne, for an estimated total donation of $40,000. Playing last week in Brisbane, Sam Stosur pledged $100 and Andy Roddick $200 for ever ace they hit during the tournament. Andy, alone, raised $10,800 to the Queensland Government’s Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal .