SYDNEY (Xinhua) – The World’s best tennis players took to the court in Australia on Wednesday evening, in a special charity event for the Australian bushfires, raising close to five million Australian (3.4 million U.S.) dollars.
Amid the Australian Open qualifying rounds, the Rally for Relief featured big name stars including Roger Federer, Serena William, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev.
Firefighters and emergency personnel watched on from court side seats as the multi-generational stars played fast four doubles, bringing much needed laughter and fun to those who have struggled over the past months.
Australia’s devastating bushfire season has claimed at least 28 lives, destroyed over 2,000 homes and razed millions of hectares of wilderness.
Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios, who comes from an area near to where the fires are, described the emotional feeling of seeing some of the biggest stars in the world getting behind Australia in a time of need.
“The awareness has grown and I think we’re doing everything we possibly can to overcome this,” Kyrgios said.
“I’ve got goosebumps … everyone came together and it’s just an amazing feeling — It’s been an emotional couple of weeks.”
In an Australian Open preview, Kyrgios was joined by Federer for a friendly one set match which the Swiss player won 7-6.
“What I wanted to do was raise awareness, raise money and tell people to still come and travel to Australia because people probably think around the world that you can’t right now,” Federer said.