LONDON/PARIS/NEW YORK, January 15, 2020 (ITF/Grand Slam Press Release)
As a demonstration of support for the Australian Open and the Australian people impacted by the current bushfires, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the international governing body of the sport, and three of the four tennis Grand Slam® tournaments have announced that they will collectively pledge an additional US$400,000 (AUD 579,542) donation to the Australian Bushfire relief efforts. This donation comes in addition to the funds raised by Tennis Australia’s Aces for Bushfire Relief campaign as the worldwide tennis community unites to help devastated areas of the Grand Slam® nation.
The pledges from the ITF, the international governing body of the sport, the FFT, on behalf of Roland-Garros, the AELTC, on behalf of The Championships, Wimbledon, and the USTA, on behalf of the US Open, will be donated to the Australian Red Cross, one of the leading entities providing help and support to the devastated areas of the country.
David Haggerty, ITF President said “The worldwide tennis community has come together in support of all those affected by the bushfires across many parts of Australia. This donation will support the Red Cross teams who are working hard on the ground providing essential emergency assistance including relief centres, aid and practical support for victims, evacuated families and those who have lost their homes. We would like to commend all members of the tennis community who are currently raising funds and awareness.”
Bernard Guidicelli, Chairman of the French Tennis Federation, said: “The sheer scale of the catastrophe that is hitting Australia right now is terrifying, in terms of its impact on the country’s people and on the environment. We are but powerless witnesses to this disaster. It was a matter of course for the French Tennis Federation to help support the charities which, day after day, are working tirelessly to help those who are suffering or have lost everything.”
Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the AELTC, said: “Our thoughts are with the Australian people at this difficult time. As one of the leading sports in the world, tennis has a responsibility to use the resources that come from our reach and influence as a force for good. We are pleased to be playing our part as the global tennis community comes together to support the efforts of the Red Cross in Australia.”
Patrick Galbraith, USTA Chairman of the Board and President, said: “The USTA has a long track record of supporting communities hurt by devastating natural disasters, and though our efforts have traditionally been to support communities in the United States, we are joining with the world in helping our friends and colleagues in Australia. When the global tennis community unites, we can make a difference.”
Jayne Hrdlicka, Tennis Australia Chair, said: “Sadly, the start to the tennis season, and the new decade, comes with tragedy. The fires in Australia continue to dominate world news and the devastation is hard to comprehend.
“Several weeks ago we launched our Aces for Bushfire Relief campaign, which will see a donation made for every ace hit across the Australian summer of tennis. With this initiative, and the support of the broader tennis community, we hope to raise millions of dollars throughout January. We want to ensure that as a sport, globally, we show our huge heart and compassion for what is taking place around us. The fund raising will support the emergency services teams and families who have suffered great loss. The rebuilding of communities and lives will take many, many years and we have the opportunity to make a real difference.
“The generosity and genuine care shown from the tennis family throughout the world has been overwhelming.”
In Australia, the Red Cross is supporting thousands of people in evacuation centres and helping to reconnect families. They are providing training, equipment and logistical coordination for volunteers and other relief workers.
Those interested in supporting the cause can visit Redcross.org.au/tennis to learn more about the Australian bushfire relief efforts.