Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tennis stars rally for flood relief in Australia

Superstars of tennis will unite on the eve of the Australian Open grand slam event to raise money for the victims of Australia's flood disaster.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Kim Clijsters are among the topliners who'll join Australian No.1's Lleyton Hewitt and Samatha Stosur and former great Pat Rafter in a Rally for Relief exhibition match at Melbourne Park on Sunday.

World No.6 Stosur said the devastating extent of the Queensland flooding was really brought home to the world tennis fraternity when they saw Pat Rafter Arena, where many of them played the Brisbane International last week, under water.
"To see that under water, everyone who is not from here realises how bad it is now," said Stosur in Sydney on Friday when she announced the exhibition event which will be a key plank of tennis' support effort.
"It's an enormous disaster."

"A lot of us just want to make some sort of contribution. It breaks my heart to see what is happening to thousands of people in these floods."

Two-time US Open champion Rafter, originally from Mount Isa, said he was personally touched by the disaster when news arose that his brother-in-law was stuck in flood-hit Toowoomba.

"He was fine, but they were trying to get hold of him, so we were left wondering there for moment."

Rafter said while he was amazed to see images of the court named after him submerged in Brisbane, helping those affected by the disaster was paramount.

"It's just amazing."

"But it's a tennis complex, so it's the least of our worries.

"We need to worry about the people and their houses and their livelihood."

World No.1 Nadal, who arrived in Melbourne earlier this week aiming to become only the third man ever to hold all four major trophies at once, was one of the first to put his hand up for the relief effort.

"This is a terrible tragedy," he said.

"I am pleased to be able to contribute in some way and help bring the attention of the world."

Federer, who has volunteered his time for various world disasters including the earthquake in Haiti, was also quick to join in.

"We just want to do something to aide the recovery because we know there thousands of Australians who will continue to suffer as a result of the disaster."


My thoughts and prayers go out to all those effected.

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