Despite the seriousness of the cause – relief for the victims of Queensland’s devastating flooding – Sunday afternoon’s Rally for Relief exhibition was loads of fun. The first half brought together a motley crew of tennis players: Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Vera Zvonareva, Vika Azarenka and captain Patrick Rafter playing various forms of exo silliness vs. Justine Henin, Ana Ivanovic, Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki and captain Lleyton Hewitt.
Can I get a little shallow for a moment and just say: Ana looks FAB!
And Andy Murray is killer with the footie. Photos really don’t do his skills justice:
And the Dour Scot really does know how to smile!
These guys and gals put on a good show.
Though Nole could have entertained the capacity crowd all by himself.
Toddler Hewitt was perhaps the only person at Rod Laver Arena who didn’t enjoy himself:
In another life, Caro would make a killer au pair:
After the mass hilarity things got a even more exciting as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Sam Stosur and Kim Clijsters took to the court for some mixed doubles (Fed/Sam vs. Kim/Rafa).
But my absolute favorite part was when chair umpire Jim Courier mixed things up and decided to make it girls vs. boys. A brilliant move, Captain Courier!
I really did feel a frisson seeing Roger and Rafa playing on the same side of the net – I think I’d cash out and fly across the international date line to seem them play doubles together at a tournament.
Rafa needed a breather after handling Sam’s topspin:
Roger was having such a ball, he took his eyes off of it:
As Kim and Rafa exchanged big time forehands, I realized just how unique and amazing our sport is – that women and men compete on the same stage, at the biggest tournaments and can have fun playing together (for a cause, of course). And it was a good match, to boot! (The ladies won, just by a hair.)
I thought the classy Patrick Rafter put it best: “this is the best bunch of blokes tennis has ever seen.” (or something along those lines) And we’re lucky enough to be around to watch them play.
So it was some Australian sunshine though the rain, and yet more proof that tennis really is the best sport on earth. Oh, and about $1.5 million raised – just so far – from the event. Click here to donate.
Now, who’s ready for Australian Open 2011!? (Admission: It’s my favorite major!)