WTA players rally for bushfire victims
Some of the biggest names in women’s tennis have united to send messages of support and donate personal items of value to the fire-affected communities in Victoria.The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour has joined forces with the Australian tennis community to raise funds and the morale of those affected by the bushfires.
Tour players who donated items to this important cause include Casey Dellacqua, Daniela Hantuchova, Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina, Samantha Stosur, Rennae Stubbs, Ai Sugiyama and Serena Williams.
These items will be auctioned off to raise money for the Tennis Bushfire Relief Appeal.
“My prayers go out to everyone involved. It’s such a sad and unfortunate event to happen and the loss of life has been tragic,” said World No.1 and 2009 Australian Open champion Serena Williams. “I admire the heroism of those who risked their lives to help others.”
“What has happened in Australia is shocking and so sad, and I would like to send my deepest sympathies to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy,” said former World No.1 and 2008 Australian Open runner-up Ana Ivanovic. “I have family in Melbourne and was very concerned for the safety and welfare of their friends in Victoria. Australians have a great spirit, and my thoughts are with them.”
Optus Australian Fed Cup member Rennae Stubbs added, “I was just down in the Yarra Valley enjoying a beautiful lunch at Yering Station a few weeks ago and had such a great time. My heart breaks for all the wonderful people who live in that beautiful part of our country. I would like to send my best wishes to the families who have lost their homes and especially to those who have lost loved ones. My heart goes out to you all.”
Tennis authorities have also put their long-term commitment to rebuild the fire-affected communities into action today with the first of many visits to fire affected tennis clubs.
Tennis Australia staff visited the bushfire affected towns of Flowerdale and Wandong to provide help, support and aid the community in getting back to playing tennis sooner.
Clinics were conducted in conjunction with community meetings to boost morale and give the communities a real sense of the support that will be provided throughout the whole rebuild process.
Club committee members, council members and representatives of ‘tennis’ met to discuss setting up work plans for the two tennis clubs while an Aviva Tennis Hot Shots clinic was held for club/community members and their families.
International Tennis Federation vice-president and Tennis Australia President Geoff Pollard and Tennis Victoria President David Stobart said, “The tennis family can be proud of its response. What we want to do is ensure a coordinated approach resulting in a sustained, long-term outcome for these communities.
“We want to rebuild courts and clubhouses, stock them with equipment and then enliven them with tennis days, free coaching, competitions and social functions.
“We are in this for the long haul. These people need us around. Tennis is part and parcel of community life throughout Australia and the sport has a role to play in aiding the recovery of these fire-ravaged communities.”