Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Roger, Rafa and Friends Rally For Relief

If there is one thing I think I have really learned in the past week, it is the capacity of the tennis community to pull together. I saw it on Twitter this week, when one little late night hashtag turned into a Twitter love fest for Nicolas Mahut. (#wildcardformahut is now #supportmahut, in case anyone missed it!)

And now, on a much larger and more important scale, we have the Federer-originated Rally For Relief.

We saw Hit For Haiti last year. We saw how the tennis stars of the world, as well as the tennis fans, pulled together to raise a huge amount of money to go towards the Haiti earthquakes. This year, the need is much closer for the host country.

In case anyone has been living under a rock and missed it, there have been massive and incredibly destructive floods in Queensland. An inland tsunami has swamped Toowomba, rivers have peaked at depths of 22 metres in some area, large parts of Brisbane are underwater and sharks have been seen in what were once streets in Ipswich. The death toll is rising and a large number of people are still unaccounted for. The area underwater is equivalent to more than six of the United Kingdom. It is huge and destructive. There are no proper words to describe it.

But there are ways to help, and the tennis community, as it did with the Haitian tragedy last year, has pulled together to do it. Roger Federer, as he did last year, has organised a charity exhibition to be played on Rod Laver Arena at 2pm on Sunday afternoon. Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Lleyton Hewitt, Kim Clijsters, Samantha Stosur and Pat Rafter - whose arena in Brisbane is now underwater - will all be playing. Like Hit for Haiti last year, it should be a whole pile of fun for a very serious cause. And the tennis community will rise to this challenge.

So, if you are in Melbourne, get along to the Rally for Relief! I will be there along with a whole bunch of other tennis folk, including Dootsiez from All I Need Is A Picket Fence, and hopefully the whole arena will be sold out. Tickets are $20 a head - a small contribution you can make to the flood appeal (and getting a whole lot of awesome tennis into the bargain!)

You can buy tickets here. And if you can, PLEASE donate to the Queensland Flood Appeal, which you can do here.

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