Kyrgios Looks To Make An Impact On Australian Wildfires
Nick Kyrgios will have home on his mind during the ATP Cup as Australia continues to be impacted by the worst wildfires seen in decades.
Seventeen people have died throughout the country and more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed by the fires. Kyrgios’ hometown of Canberra is experiencing its worst air quality on record as local residents have been told to stay indoors.
Eager to help, Kyrgios tweeted on Wednesday to Tennis Australia and asked them to put on an exhibition fundraiser. The tweet quickly went viral as fans applauded the Aussie for looking to make a difference.
“It’s pretty tragic what's going on, especially with my hometown, Canberra, being under a bit of smoke, the most hazardous smoke in the world at the moment,” Kyrgios said on Thursday at a pre-tournament press conference in Brisbane. “It's obviously sad for everything that's going on… There's no rain predicted there for the next four months, so it doesn't look like the fires are going to slow down anytime soon, which is pretty sad. To see Canberra be like that, it's pretty tough.”
If Kyrgios hoped to create action, his tweet helped accomplish that. Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, confirmed shortly after that a multi-city effort will be launched to support those who have been impacted by the wildfires.
“We want to help these communities in a meaningful way and will announce a number of fundraising and support initiatives that will be rolled out across the ATP Cup, Australian Open and our other events over the coming weeks,” Tiley wrote in a statement. “Stay tuned for further announcements.”
Kyrgios also knows that he has the support of his peers on Team Australia. Shortly after Kyrgios tweeted on Thursday that he'll donate $200 for every ace he hits during the Aussie swing to support those affected by the fires, Alex de Minaur raised the stakes and announced he'll donate $250 per ace. John Millman also pledged $100 per ace.
“I'm sure that all these guys will be happy to help,” Kyrgios said. “John Millman and John Peers retweeted, so the more exposure it gets, I think we have the potential to do something pretty special.”
Team Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt added that, “It's been a pretty tough time for a lot of the major states of our country… I think all of us feel like we would like to help in some way. Tennis, and especially Tennis Australia, have always made an effort to try and put things together, and we have got a massive platform… If they can organise something quick enough, I'm sure they will try and do absolutely everything they can.”
For now, Kyrgios will shift his focus to Australia’s first match on Friday against Germany in Group F. Each victory that the 24-year-old can provide his team will only heighten his platform to talk about the wildfires that impact him personally.
“Our focus, obviously, is tomorrow,” Kyrgios said. “We've got a massive match. But all the families and all affected are in our thoughts.”