Rafael Nadalis ready to swing his racquet for a good cause…
The 33-year-old Spanish professional tennis player, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, will take part in a charity event ahead of the Australian Open that will have a new air quality policy as organizers grapple with issues related to the bushfire crisis.
Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley announced on Wednesday that the Rally for Relief will be held onRod Laver Arena on the evening of January 15 with proceeds going to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.
Nadal will take part alongside Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Nick Kyrgios, Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniaki and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“For a period of about two-and-a-half hours we’re going to be showcasing the game, but also coming together as a community to play our part in the relief effort,” Tiley said
“I’m really proud of the playing group because the number of calls and emails I’ve got with everyone stepping forward and either giving money or making themselves available.
“The format is going to be pretty cool … it’s going to be a combination of fun and seriousness.
“We’ll see some doubles, we’ll see some singles, some target hitting and opportunities to raise more money on the night.
“We’ll see the players having a lot of fun.”
Tickets are available from Ticketmaster with all proceeds going to bushfire disaster relief charities.
Tiley also confirmed the Open will go ahead as scheduled with an air quality policy in place after concerns had been raised about the potential for smoke from bushfires burning in Victoria’s east to affect the health of players and fans.
“This is a new experience for not only us but across the world in this sport,” Tiley said.
“But we lead the world with the extreme heat policy and we expect to do the same around air quality.
“We do have three stadiums with roofs so play will always continue.
“But what will be new is that we will have some real-time (air quality) monitoring on-site … and we’ll use that analysis to make some decisions around the safety and well-being of players and fans.
“… I think the players understand that this is not something that we can do anything about and they’ve been gracious and very cooperative.
“They want to play.”