Alexander Zverev will donate $10,000 for every match he wins at the Australian Open to go toward the bushfire recovery effort. If he wins the Australian Open title, the seventh-seeded Zverev is promising to donate all his prize money.
He is already committed to $10,000 after overcoming a frustrating buildup to the decade’s first major to win his first-round match against Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
After the match, he told the crowd at Margaret Court Arena about his pledge, starting with the promise per match and then adding: “I know I’m not the favorite to win this event, but if I win this event, I’ll donate every single cent to the bushfires.”
The men’s and women’s singles champions earn $4.12 million Australian dollars ($2.827 million US), and have to win seven consecutive matches to clinch the title.
The announcement is the latest in a string of players pledging money toward the devastating wildfires in Australia, which have claimed at least 28 lives since September, destroyed more than 2,600 homes and razed more than 10.4 million hectares (25.7 million acres). The area burned is larger than the U.S. state of Indiana.
Many of tennis’ top players have vowed to support Australians suffering because of the bushfires. Nick Kyrgios got the ball rolling when he pledged to donate $140 (U.S.) for every ace he hit during the ATP Cup, and fellow Aussies Alex De Minaur, John Millman, John Peers and Sam Stosur quickly followed with their own pledges.
Scores of ATP and WTA players followed suit. Serena Williams donated her $43,000 ASB Classic winner’s check to Australian wildfires victims. Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic matched contributions via Twitter:
🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 Thank YOU 😊 https://t.co/0RGoaeHTXj
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) January 6, 2020
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Kyrgios, Williams and others took part in a Rally for Relief bushfire charity exhibition at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday. According to Tennis Australia, the event raised nearly $3.5 million for the bushfire relief effort. The event drew a capacity crowd of more than 15,000. During the event, Nadal announced he and Federer would combine to donate $250,000. The ATP donated $725,000 on behalf of the players, and the ITF will contribute an additional $400,000.
Against first-round opponent Lorenzo Sonego, Kyrgios fired 14 aces — for what will be an AU$2,800 ($1,932 US) donation – en route to a 6-2, 7-6, 7-6 victory. Kyrgios told ESPN TV analyst John McEnroe after the match, “It’s been an emotional few months.”
McEnroe, a seven-time major champion, then made a generous donation of his own, announcing a pledge of $1,000 US for each set Kyrgios wins for the remainder of the tournament. “I don’t know what to say,” Kyrgios said. “You’re going to make me tear up again.”
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.