Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Novak Djokovic and other stars for bushfire fundraiser

Updated: Jan 16, 2020, 08:38 IST | AFP | Melbourne

Tennis royalty descends in hazy Melbourne for bushfire relief charity fundraiser

Rafael Nadal (left), Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic during the Rally For Relief charity match in Melbourne yesterday. Pics/PTI
Rafael Nadal (left), Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic during the Rally For Relief charity match in Melbourne yesterday. Pics/PTI

Melbourne: Tennis superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal jointly donated Aus$250,000 (US$172,000) for Australian bushfire relief at a charity fundraiser in smoggy Melbourne on Wednesday. The two tennis legends, with 39 Grand Slam singles titles between them, were at the Rod Laver Arena in a bid to swell the vast sums already donated to help victims of the devastating disaster. They were joined by a who's who of the tennis world, including Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Dominic Thiem, Coco Gauff, Nick Kyrgios, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev.

Baby Olympia thrilled

"Twenty years this has been my home and I've had so many great matches on this court and in this country," said Williams, whose young daughter Alexis Olympia was thrilled to meet some firefighters this week. "And that's we're all here tonight to support and help out." Tennis Australia said it expected the "Rally for Relief" to raise "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to add to the more than Aus$2.8 million (US$1.9 million) already stumped up by the global tennis community.

Alexander Zverev (extreme right) takes a selfie with Naomi Osaka (extreme left), Coco Gauff, Caroline Wozniacki and Stefanos Tsitsipas (second from right) at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne yesterdayAlexander Zverev (extreme right) takes a selfie with Naomi Osaka (extreme left), Coco Gauff, Caroline Wozniacki and Stefanos Tsitsipas (second from right) at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne yesterday

Williams led a team in Fast4 doubles, a shortened version of the game, boosting Thiem and Kvitova, along with Nadal and Djokovic playing together on the same side of the net. They met Wozniacki's side that featured Gauff, Osaka, Zverev and Tsitsipas. But the evening's star turn saw Federer play a set against Australian bad boy Kyrgios, who has been driving force behind the fundraising effort.

Kyrgios emotional

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios (left) chats with Switzerland’s Roger Federer in Melbourne yesterdayAustralia's Nick Kyrgios (left) chats with Switzerland's Roger Federer in Melbourne yesterday

"It's emotional stuff," said Kyrgios. "I just want to have a little fun out here tonight and hopefully we can overcome this," he added.

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