Sports stars dig deep to help bushfire victims
NICK Kyrgios has pledged $200 for each ace he serves across the Australian summer of tennis to support victims of bushfires raging around the country, and LaMelo Ball will donate a month of his NBL salary to support victims of the tragic NSW fires.
Tennis Australia says plans are in place to support those impacted by the country's bushfires, after star Nick Kyrgios's proposal for a charity exhibition match to raise funds ahead of this month's Australian Open gained rapid support.
The world No. 30 posted his idea to Twitter late on Wednesday, and by Thursday afternoon the concept was gathering pace.
"The more exposure it gets I think we have the potential to do something pretty special there," Kyrgios said ahead of the inaugural ATP Cup, where he'll represent Australia in Brisbane from Friday.
"All the heartbreak this summer; it's pretty tragic what's going on, especially with my hometown, Canberra, being under a bit of smoke, the most hazardous smoke in the world at the moment.
"To see Canberra like that, it's pretty tough to see."
Kyrgios later tweeted that he would donate $200 for every ace he hit this summer.
Aussie teammate Alex de Minaur responded, saying he'd go to $250 per ace because "I don't think I'll be hitting as many aces as you mate."
Bound for the NBA, Illawarra Hawks guard Ball said on Friday: "It's sad to see what is happening on the south coast of Australia. People have lost their homes and everything they own.
"My parents taught me to help out wherever I can, so this is my way of helping out."
Ball's minder, Jermaine Jackson, confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that Ball felt compelled to help out after seeing the devastation.
The Hawks, in partnership with the Illawarra Mercury, will be raising money for the Salvation Army Disaster Appeal, which is also helping victims of Australia's bushfires.
On Thursday morning, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said the public should "stay tuned" for the announcement of a number of initiatives, beginning at the inaugural ATP Cup.
Many of the game's headline acts, including world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic, are in Australia to play in the newly minted teams event ahead of the year's first grand slam at Melbourne Park.
Australia ATP Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt said the Australian Open's status as one of the country's biggest events meant they had a platform to provide significant support.
"Christmas and the new year should be a happy time for these families and lots of these people are doing it pretty tough out there," he said.
"So I think all of us feel like we would like to help in some way."
With the deadly fires continuing to burn across the country, Tiley said Tennis Australia "wanted to help these communities in a meaningful way".
"For weeks we've been watching the devastation caused by bushfires across Australia and the people affected are constantly in our thoughts," he said.
"We … will announce a number of fund raising and support initiatives that will be rolled out across the ATP Cup, Australian Open and our other events over the coming weeks.
"Stay tuned for further announcements."