Rally For Relief raises $1.8m for Queensland flood victims

ATP and WTA stars entertained 15,000 fans on Rod Laver Arena Sunday as they raised $1.8m and counting for Queensland flood victims in the specially organised Rally For Relief.

On the eve of the Australian Open, the world’s best tennis players gave up 90 minutes of their time to come together in a fun exhibition to raise money for the families who have been left devastated by severe flooding in Queensland.

The players were split into two teams. Pat Rafter captained the Green Team, which featured Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva, Rafael Nadal and Kim Clijsters. Lleyton Hewitt headed up the Gold Team and was joined by Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, Justine Henin, Caroline Wozniacki, Roger Federer and Sam Stosur. Two-time Australian Open champion Jim Courier presided over proceedings from the umpire’s chair.

All the players were miked up and kept fans entertained with constant banter and jokes, including Roddick’s turn as a line judge, as they rotated on court. Close to the end, fans were treated to a an  all-Australian clash between Rafter and Hewitt, before the exhibition closed with the eagerly anticipated mixed doubles match between Nadal-Clijsters and Federer-Stosur.

Later, Roddick tweeted, “had a great time at rallyforrelief today... an honor to be a part of such spirit and sentiment.”

Murray added, “rally for relief was great fun, really pleased to have been a part of it.”

To add to the money raised in Rally For Relief, Queensland Energy Resources CEO Pearce Bowman has announced that QER will double the money raised over the next fortnight and urged everybody to give whatever they can to the appeal.

In addition, the ATP World Tour and WTA pledged $10 for every ace served by its players at the combined ATP World Tour/WTA tournaments that have been played in Australia this month, the Brisbane International and the Medibank International Sydney, as well as at the Australian Open.

Two weeks ago in Brisbane - where floodwaters have now engulfed centre court on Pat Rafter Arena - Roddick and Stosur pledged $100 for each ace they served. Runner-up Roddick later doubled his pledge to $200 per ace. He served 54 aces during the tournament to raise $10,800. Additionally, the Brisbane International donated $5,000.

Flood waters covering an area greater than the land mass of France and Germany combined have forced the evacuation of thousands of people from towns and cities, destroyed homes and caused billions of dollars damage to crops and infrastructure and severely impacted tourism and businesses.

Fans can still make a contribution by going to the official Queensland Government's Premier's Flood Relief Appeal or to rallyforrelief.com.au to donate online, or by purchasing an item from the player auctions. Items include clothing worn and equipment used during Sunday's Rally For Relief.

Date: 16.01.2011, Source: ATP


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