Australia

'It's bigger than tennis': Sports stars pledge money for fire victims

Nick Kyrgios, D'Arcy Short, Sam Stosur and LaMelo Ball have all pledged support for a fundraising initiative for bushfire victims. Source: AAP

Nick Kyrgios' plans for a massive fundraising effort for bushfire victims has won the support of sporting names around Australia, including American NBL star LaMelo Ball.

Nick Kyrgios' plans for a massive fundraising effort for bushfire victims has resulted in a tennis exhibition match set to feature some of the world's top players.

Kyrgios kicked off a flood of donations to the fundraising campaign from sporting names around Australia, including American NBL star LaMelo Ball.

Kyrgios floated the idea of a charity tennis match and Tennis Australia on Friday responded by announcing a "Rally for Relief" exhibition match on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday Jan 15.

Speaking on Channel Nine, Kyrgios says he could care less about the praise for his idea, adding that "it's bigger than tennis".

They will also donate proceeds from a Jessica Mauboy concert on January 19 to the Red Cross appeal and grant $1m for communities to rebuild tennis facilities.

TA chief executive and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said the players to take part in the exhibition would be announced in coming days.

The world's top two players, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, are currently in Australia, preparing for the grand slam tournament.

"We are working closely with the top players and have already had a great response, with many of them keen to help this incredibly important cause," Tiley said.

Kyrgios already put his hand in his pocket, pledging $200 for each ace he served across the Australian summer of tennis.

Fellow Australian players Alex de Minaur, John Millman, Dylan Alcott and Samantha Stosur, among others, also vowed to donate money from their aces while the new ATP Cup got on board.

The tournament announced that for every ace served over the next 10 days across the three venues they will send $100 to the Australian Red Cross, with the final figure expected to surpass $150,000.

NBA-bound Ball, who plays for the Illawarra Hawks, pledged to donate one month of his NBL salary to help victims of the devastating fires.

"It's sad to see what is happening on the south coast of Australia," Ball said in a statement.

"People have lost their homes and everything they own. My parents taught me to help out wherever I can, so this is my way of helping out."

Big Bash League captains, Brisbane Heat's Chris Lynn and Melbourne Stars' Glenn Maxwell as well as Hurricanes batsman D'Arcy Short, have all pledged $250 for each six they hit in the competition.

As a mark of respect there will be no fireworks at Saturday's Melbourne BBL derby, where Renegades jerseys will be auctioned off.

Former Australian baseballer Simone Wearne kickstarted a campaign to donate for every home run hit in the Australian softball championships and a number of WNBL players have also got in on the act.

Nick Kyrgios.
Nick Kyrgios.
AAP

"It is special to see so many athletes from various sports getting in behind the real heroes who are fighting to save lives and properties around our country," Lynn tweeted.

Australia's cricketers will auction off signed shirts from the Boxing Day Test while Cricket Australia will throw open the gates to firefighters during two SCG one-dayers against New Zealand in March, also using the trans-Tasman series as a fundraising drive.

Melbourne A-League clubs - Victory, City and Western United - will also donate $2 from every ticket sold to their matches this weekend.

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