Nick Kyrgios-inspired tennis fundraisers to help Australia fire the victims
SYDNEY: The Australian tennis chief announced on Thursday a series of fundraising events for forest fire victims after an appeal from the bad boy Nick Kyrgios .
Kyrgios, often a controversial figure in the sport, called an exhibition tournament before the Australian Open Grand Slam, after fires that claimed 18 lives and forced mass evacuations.
Are we going @TennisAustralia we can surely do a former @AustralianOpen exho to raise funds for those affected by the fires? The 24-year-old tweeted, who has issued a suspended ban of 16 weeks in September after a series of outbursts.
Tennis australia CEO Craig Tiley responded by saying fundraisers would be held during tournaments including the Australian Open and the ATP Cup team event, telling fans to "stay tuned" for details.
For weeks we have been watching the devastation caused by forest fires in Australia and the people affected are constantly in our thoughts, Tiley said.
"We want to help these communities in a meaningful way and will announce a number of fund raising and support initiatives that will be rolled out across the ATP Cup, Australian Open and our other events over the coming weeks."
Kyrgios, in Brisbane for the inaugural ATP Cup team competition, said the world of tennis now had the opportunity to do something special.
" Tennis australia , obviously, has been pretty proactive about it," Kyrgios said Thursday.
I am sure something will happen. I am sure that all of us will participate in some way, he added.
Forest fires are the main topic of conversation before the ATP Cup of 24 teams, held in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.
World number two Novak Djokovic , who lives in Brisbane with Serbia, visited a sanctuary of Koalas and said he brought home the devastation caused by the fires.
It is very sad to know how many people and animals have lost their homes due to forest fires. My heart and my support are with all those affected, he tweeted.
ATP Cup officials will depend on medical experts at the site to control air quality in Sydney, where cricket and golf events have been affected by the haze of fires in recent weeks.
However, Sydney-based players for the tournament said they were not worried about smoke conditions.
Obviously we are worried about that (forest fires), but we are all ready to play, said Bulgarian captain Grigor Dimitrov, a sentiment echoed by world number 11 David Goffin.
I think we are in a safe area to smoke and the air is fine for us, said the Belgian.
We are not very sorry for the moment, the air quality. I think it should be fine for the parties.
Tim Henman, who captains a missing British team Andy Murray Due to an injury, he said that playing in a potentially poor air was nothing compared to the problems faced by fire victims.
I think that in the context of what this country is going through with forest fires and so that we have to deal with perhaps slightly poor air quality, I think there is a perspective, he said.
I don't consider it a problem at all.
ATP Cup tournament director Tom Larner told reporters this week that air conditions would be closely monitored and the game would be suspended if necessary.
Australia is no stranger to forest fires, but this season's fires have been severe with more than 1,300 homes destroyed and more than 5.5 million hectares (13.5 million acres) burned.