Yet more tennis stars have made donation pledges towards the Bushfire Appeal as week one of the Australian Open gathers momentum.
After beating Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 6-4 7-6(4) 6-3 in the first round on Tuesday night, No.7 seed Alex Zverev announced that he will donate $10,000 for every match he wins at Melbourne Park over the next two weeks. Remarkably Zverev also declared that if he wins the whole tournament, he will give his entire $4.12 million cheque to the fundraising efforts, although such an eventuality would appear unlikely given that the German has never been past the last 16 down under.
“If I win the Australian Open, I will be the happiest person on the planet,” said Zverev.
“I think that the $4 million will be in much better use in hands that know what to do with it, and know how to help others.
“Obviously $4 million is a lot of money. For the people in need, it's more important right now. There are people right now in a country we call home for a month every single year that cannot do the things that they love, but also lost their homes, lost sometimes loved ones. I just think we as the fortunate people, should try to help in any way possible.”
Zverev was not the only player to make a donation announcement following their first round win. No.19 seed John Isner declared he would give 25 per cent of his entire Australian Open winnings to the relief efforts after beating Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro in four sets on Tuesday.
In addition, seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe told an emotional Nick Kyrgios that he would donate $1,000 for every set the Aussie wins this fortnight, following Kyrgios’ straight sets first-round win.
Kyrgios kick-started the tennis world’s response to the natural disaster earlier this month by pledging to give $200 for every ace he serves this summer, as well as starring at last week’s Rally for Relief event which raised more than $5 million.
Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic had cheekily suggested that Zverev should donate for every double fault he serves during the Australian Open, after the German’s serving woes at the ATP Cup, something which Zverev made light of after his first round win.
“I mean, it was fun and all that, but I think it should be a positive thing, not double-faulting and giving money,” he said.
“I think $10,000 a match, then if I win the tournament, giving $4 million to the pledges is pretty generous I hope. I hope it comes down to it. If it does, I'll keep my promise. I'll be happy to kind of feel I'm a little part of helping out people, and helping out the people that actually need the money.”