Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal Donate $170,000 To Australian Bushfire Relief Efforts

Tennis greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have pledged $250,000 Australian dollars — about $172,000 U.S. — towards the Australian bush fire relief efforts.

World No. 1 Nadal made the announcement during a charity event Wednesday at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne ahead of the start of the Australian Open on Jan. 20. He and Federer have combined to win 39 Grand Slam singles titles, with Federer holding a narrow 20-19 lead on his top rival and close friend.

“Hopefully that’s keep inspiring the people to support this terrible disaster that we’re going through and helps to recover all the things that we need,” Nadal said on ESPN2.

As of early Wednesday morning in the U.S., almost $3.5 million had been raised from donations. To donate, click here.

“It’s been difficult, you know?” Federer said. “You wish that this doesn’t happen in your country. In Switzerland we’re quite lucky we don’t have these type of extreme situations, so always happy to help, always happy to lend my time or my money for that matter….and at least do my fair share.”

Novak Djokovic and Nadal previously announced that the ATP would donate $725,000 Australian — nearly $500,000 U.S. — to the World Wildlife Fund. The bushfires in New South Wales and Victoria have burnt through more than 27 million acres of land, killed 27 people and left thousands homeless. An estimated one billion animals have perished.

“The scale of these fires is unprecedented,” Dieter Hochuli, an environmental sciences professor at the University of Sydney, said, per CBSlocal. “There are substantial concerns about the capacity of these (ecosystems) to rebound from the fires.”

Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Naomi Osaka, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Australian Nick Kyrgios took part in the exhibition match Wednesday.

Kyrgios pledged earlier this month to donate $200 Australian ($138 U.S.) for every ace he serves over the next month, and fellow Australian players Alex De Minaur, John Millman, John Peers and Sam Stosur quickly followed suit with similar promises.

“My hometown is on the brink of being practically on fire so it’s not easy talking about it. I guess,” Kyrgios said on ESPN. “I’m happy that we’re doing something about it.”

The ATP Cup then announced that $100 Australian ($69 U.S.) for every ace served in the competition would be donated to the Australian Red Cross bushfire relief efforts.

American basketball star LaMelo Ball, who plays for Illawarra Hawks of the Australian NBL, pledged to donate one month of his salary to help victims of the devastating fires.

“It’s sad to see what is happening on the south coast of Australia,” the American said in a statement. “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.”

Meantime, Australian Ben Simmons and eight other Australian NBA players donated over $500,000 to relief efforts.

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