SBD/Jan. 17, 2011/Sports in Society

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  • Tennis Players "Rally For Relief" In Support Of Queensland Flood Victims

    Top tennis players gather in Australia for exhibition in support of flood victims

    With the floods this month in the Australian state of Queensland "generating headlines globally," top tennis players and Australian Open officials organized "Rally for Relief," which took place yesterday at Rod Laver Arena, according to Christopher Clarey of the N.Y. TIMES. Images of "flooded homes and despair in Queensland" appeared on the video screens above the court "in a space usually reserved for Hawkeye replays or flashy groundstrokes." Kim Clijsters said of the floods, "I think we've all been very shocked and surprised by a lot of the images." Tennis and humanitarianism "have long been intertwined, with meaningful charity work being done through the decades." But "what separates this latest generation -- the most collegial and civic-minded in the sport's recent history -- is its ability to react magnanimously and collectively in a hurry." This is "fast becoming a habit and a good one." Ahead of last year's Australian Open, Roger Federer was the "driving force behind organizing" an exhibition for Haiti earthquake relief. What "distinguishes this group of leading players is not just a gesture like the one Sunday, but the spirit that prevails." Federer and Rafael Nadal "continue to set aside their rivalry for good causes and sometimes leverage it for good causes, too," as they "played back-to-back exhibition matches last month for their respective foundations in Zurich and Madrid" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/17). In Sydney, Emma Quayle notes "more than 15,000 people" watched Federer, Nadal, Clijsters, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray, Justine Henin, Ana Ivanovic and others warm up for the Australian Open with a "light-hearted, miked-up hit." Novak Djokovic "invaded the media box and pinched a photographer's camera to test out his skills, and Andy Roddick recruited a referee to take his place on court." About $750,000 was "raised for flood victims on the day and was matched by Queensland Energy Resources." That is "sure to rise further as several players auction shirts, racquets and other memorabilia." Australia native Sam Stosur "will donate $500 for each ace she serves in the Open," and the ATP World Tour and WTA "will contribute $10 for each ace served in the summer tournaments" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 1/17).

    BOGUT DOING HIS PART: In Milwaukee, Charles Gardner reported Bucks C Andrew Bogut "wants to help the people of his native Australia after massive flooding destroyed communities in Queensland." He is "offering an NBA 'dream package' to be auctioned off on eBay, with all proceeds from the auction to go to the Premier's Disaster Relief Fund." Bogut "will provide expenses for four fans -- from anywhere in the world -- to fly to Milwaukee via Los Angeles for a week of sightseeing, game tickets and accommodations." The package will include "four tickets to a Lakers game in Los Angeles, four courtside seats to a Bucks game at the Bradley Center and a dinner for four with Bogut at one of his favorite Milwaukee restaurants" (JSONLINE.com, 1/15). The AP noted Bogut also is "giving away autographed jerseys, game worn shoes and other memorabilia" (AP, 1/14).

    ALL HANDS ON DECK: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Sarah McDonald reported Lance Armstrong and the other 132 riders competing in this week's Tour Down Under are "doing their bit" for flood relief. Race organizers said that all of the almost US$16,000 in individual prize money from Saturday's Cancer Council Classic race "will be donated to the appeal." The Australian Football League also is "considering a number of proposals to assist with the relief effort, including an All-Stars match," and Football Federation Australia donated US$99,513 to the relief effort. The FFA said that it "will use matches next weekend to help raise more relief funds" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/16).

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