The Australia Bushfires saw a Big Bash League game abandoned between Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder in Canberra. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The bushfires across Australia have ravaged the country and tennis personalities have led a call for charity games in order to raise funds for the victims of the bushfire. Nick Kyrgios, who has often being in the news for his bad behavior on the court, tweeted, "C'mon @TennisAustralia surely we can do a pre @AustralianOpen exho to raise funds for those affected by the fires?" tweeted Kyrgios who has handed a 16-week suspended ban in September after a series of outbursts. With the Australian Open scheduled to begin in mid-January and the ATP Cup also beginning soon, Tennis Australia said fundraisers would be held during tournaments including the Australian Open and the ATP Cup team event, telling fans to "stay tuned" for details.
"For weeks we've been watching the devastation caused by bushfires across Australia and the people affected are constantly in our thoughts. We want to help these communities in a meaningful way and will announce a number of fund raising and support initiatives that will be rolled out across the ATP Cup, Australian Open and our other events over the coming weeks," Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
The bushfires are the major talking point ahead of the 24-team ATP Cup, which is being held in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. World number two Novak Djokovic, who is based in Brisbane with Serbia, visited a koala sanctuary and said it brought home to him the devastation wrought by the fires. "It's very sad to know how many people & animals have lost their homes to the bushfires. My heart and support goes out to all those affected," Djokovic tweeted.
ATP Cup officials will be relying on on-site medical experts to monitor air quality in Sydney but players based in the city for the tournament said they weren't worried about smoky conditions. "Obviously we're concerned about that (the bushfires), but we're all ready to play," said Bulgaria captain Grigor Dimitrov, a sentiment echoed by world number 11 David Goffin. "I think we are in a safe area for smoke and the air is okay for us. We didn't feel it that much for the moment, the quality of the air. I think it should be okay for the matches," Goffin said.
Tim Henman, who is captaining a British team missing Andy Murray through injury, said playing in potentially poor air was nothing compared to the problems faced by fire victims. "I think in the context of what this country is going through with the bushfires and for us having to deal with perhaps slightly poor air quality, I think there is the perspective," he said.
Other Sports Getting Hampered
Australia has been devastated by the bushfires in the 2019/20 summer. This season's blazes have been severe with more than 1,300 homes destroyed and over 5.5 million hectares (13.5 million acres) scorched. The death toll is now 18 and states like New South Wales and Victoria are currently seeing 200 fires burning. New South Wales has announced a 'mass relocation' and it has also declared a state of emergency.
The bushfire haze is so bad that it has even affected New Zealand with the glaciers in the country turning brown. The bushfires have also resulted in sporting activities being hampered apart from tennis. The Sydney New Year Test between Australia and New Zealand could see play getting suspended as a thick haze hovers around Sydney and the Cricket Ground. Golf tournaments are also being monitored. In a recent Big Bash League clash between Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder at the Manuka Oval in Canberra was abandoned due to poor air quality.