MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — Roger Federer said he would donate to the Australia bushfires appeal on Monday after tennis players pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to the disaster relief fund.
The Swiss great, who has been criticized by environmental activists including Greta Thunberg over a sponsor’s links to fossil fuel investments, said he would donate at a charity match on Wednesday.
“If anyone can chip in, that’s great because it’s nice to show solidarity and help in a situation, which has become quite incredible in this country,” Federer, 38, said at a publicity event in Melbourne.
“We need to look for prevention in the future, that this doesn’t happen to this extent again because there will always be fires as I understand. This country is much, much too big,” added the world number three.
Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal will headline Wednesday’s exhibition at Melbourne Park, which will the Australian Open Grand Slam from 20 January.
Tennis players have been quick to respond to the bushfire crisis, which has left at least 27 people dead, burned an area the size of South Korea and prompted a surge in concern over global warming.
Players on the men’s tour have donated $500,000, the Association of Tennis Professionals said on Sunday, while Williams handed over her $43,000 winner’s cheque from the Auckland Classic on Sunday.