Rally For Relief: Professional Tennis Players Raise Money To Help Victims of Queensland, Australia Floods

The world’s best tennis players and thousands of tennis fans joined forces to raise $1.5 million and counting at the Rally for Relief at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday afternoon.

The day before the opening round of the Australian Open some of the biggest stars in tennis got together to raise money for the victims of the recent devastating floods in Queensland, Australia. The event was very similar to an event put together in an effort to raise money last year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. With 15,000 fans packed into Ron Laver Arena and hundreds more in Garden Square, it proved to be just as unforgettable. Despite the seriousness of the cause, Rally for Relief was a TON of fun for both the players and the audience..

The first half brought together some of the biggest personalities of the sport: Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Vera Zvonareva, Vika Azarenka and Patrick Rafter (Captain) vs. Justine Henin, Ana Ivanovic, Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki and Lleyton Hewitt (Captain). The players did a great job entertaining the crowd, as well each other. The audience saw everything from three against one to players as linesmen, as well as a rally of only trick shots, and, at one point, Novak Djokovic even joined the photographers in the press box. To add to the fun, all of the players were wearing microphones and kept the crowd laughing throughout the event.

The highlight was when Federer, Nadal, Stosur and Clijsters were called on court. World No.1 Nadal and No.3 Clijsters took on No.2 Federer and No.6 Stosur, much to the delight of the local fans. Together, these four players hold 170 ATP/WTA titles, including 28 Grand Slam titles. The crowd watched in awe as the four went head-to-head. After a few rounds, former top-ranked ATP player, Jim Courier, the events chair umpire, mixed things up – boys vs. girls. This brilliant move by Jim proved to be a crowd pleaser. The ultimate doubles dream-team – Federer and Nadal.

The Rally for Relief was a HUGE success. The comradery that exists inside this highly competitive sport is truly unique. These athletes that compete for hours on the same stage, in the biggest tournaments, not only love the sport, but can have fun playing together. It would be hard to imagine the top players from the top two teams coming out for an exhibition football game the day before the Superbowl, but essentially, that is what these top ranked tennis players did. They took their big rest day before a grueling two weeks of constant competition to raise money for Queensland.

“Along with many of the other players I was moved by the devastation caused by the floods in Australia,” Federer said today. “We just wanted to do something to help aid the recovery because we know there are thousands of Australians who will continue to suffer as a result of this disaster.”

“This is a terrible tragedy, not only the loss of life but the destruction of people’s homes,” Nadal said. “I am pleased to be able to contribute in some way to help bring it to the attention of the world and raise some money for the victims in the process.”

The event was put together only days before it took place, and was a huge success. Over $1,000,000 were raised in just a few hours, with much more to come over the next two weeks of play. Sam Stosur, the Australian, has pledged $500 for every ace she serves during the open. Queensland Energy Resources CEO, Pearce Bowman, generously announced that QER will double the money raised over the next fortnight, and urged everybody to give whatever they can to the appeal.

Fans can still make a contribution by donating online http://www.rallyforrelief.tennis.com.au or by purchasing an item from the player auctions. Items include clothing worn and equipment used during Sunday’s Rally for Relief.