Tennis’ bad boy Nick Kyrgios rallied his champion colleagues to raise nearly $5m for bushfire victims.
The #rallies4relief charity match included a who’s-who of the sport's biggest names, including Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafale Nadal.
Canberra-based Kyrgios was motivated to do something to help the residents surrounding his smoke-filled hometown. He had originally pledged to donate $200 for every ace he hits during the summer tournament season, including the Australian Open, and this went even further, raising over $4.8million.
Kyrgios took on Federer in a one-set match and talked about the personal impact the bushfires had on him and his hometown.
“Back home when I was in Canberra I couldn’t even go outside. It was emotional and I’m just so happy that we had Roger, Novak (Djokovic), Rafa, some of the greats to get behind it and everyone around the world at the moment — the awareness has grown and I think we’re doing everything we possibly can to overcome this together,” he said.
He admitted that “it’s been an emotional couple of weeks” after his original tweet.
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“Through ATP Cup it was practically why I was playing so hard … I just wanted to send a message,” he said.
“I just had dinner when I wrote the tweet (pledging to donate), that was the opportunity for me to use my platform and the whole Aussie team got behind it.
“I woke up the next day and it had kind of exploded and it was so emotional.”
Federer and Nadal also donated $250,000.
“Talking with Roger (Federer) a couple of hours ago we decided to give $250,000 to the bushfire relief,” Nadal told Channel 9.
Fundraising efforts will also continue throughout the Australian Open.
Rally For Relief was first held in 2011, to help those affected by the Queensland floods that year. Federer was part of that and was happy to get onboard again.
"What I wanted to do was raise awareness, raise money and tell people to still come and travel to Australia because people probably think around the world that you can't right now," Federer said.
"That was the idea. And to have some fun, have a hit with Nick … we get along very well.
"We've had some epic matches over the years and this was fun … it wasn't about winning and losing."