Melbourne – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are to head an all-star line-up Sunday as the tennis world stages a fund-raiser for victims of the Queensland flooding.
Federer, who led a charity day for Haiti earthquake victims a year ago at Melbourne Park before the start of the Grand Slam, took charge and rallied his fellow players to the cause.
Joining the men’s top two will be women’s third seed Kim Clijsters, Brisbane-born Sam Stosur and Adelaide’s Lleyton Hewitt, world number three Novak Djokovic, and former great and Queenslander Pat Rafter, Australian Davis Cup captain.
The Rally for Relief matches at the Rod Laver arena came about quickly as the enormity of the Queensland floods became apparent this week.
“Along with many of the other players I was moved by the devastation caused by the floods in Australia,” said second seed Federer.
“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.”
Top seed Nadal added: “This is a terrible tragedy, not only the loss of life but the destruction of people’s homes. I’m 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.”
Hewitt said that “as an Australian I cannot help but be touched by such an awful turn of events. It is a disaster on a massive scale.”
“Australians are incredible at pulling together in times of crisis and this is certainly one of those times,” he said. “If the tennis community can also help play a role in the recovery then we should, both in Australia and internationally. I just think at a time like this it is a case of getting all hands on deck.”