ATP Stars Support Stoneman Douglas HS Players
The Miami Open presented by Itau and ATP World Tour stars welcomed members of the boys' and girls' tennis teams from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for Saturday's evening session, which was called 'Marjory Stoneman Douglas Night' to honour the survivors of a shooting on 14 February in which 17 students and teachers from the school lost their lives.
Kevin Anderson, Tournament Director James Blake, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Michael Chang, Hyeon Chung, Steve Johnson, Karen Khachanov, Nick Kyrgios, Michael Mmoh, Sam Querrey, Diego Schwartzman, Denis Shapovalov and Alexander Zverev joined members of the WTA Tour with the students on court before play began in a sign of support, and spent time off the court getting to know the teenagers as well. John Isner also met with the teams. All the players wore #MSDSTRONG shirts, which were sold to raise funds for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund, and student Angelique Meneses sang the National Anthem.
"I was able to speak to both teams, which was very cool. I thought everyone on the girls' team, guys' team, they were so nice," Isner said after his victory in the fourth round. "What those kids are doing right now is pretty impressive, and they are turning a horrible tragedy into something pretty positive, it seems. It was great to meet them. I know they got to meet a lot of players, as well. So to have them here, it was very, very cool."
After the 22-year-old Kyrgios defeated Dusan Lajovic to advance to the third round, the Australian visited the students again and invited the teams to join his practice on Sunday. Those players got an added bonus when Boston Celtics star Gordan Hayward, who played tennis competitively as a junior, joined in.
“I don’t think I’ve done anything that special, just to bring them out here to a training session, to give them the opportunity to meet professionals and make their day, that’s easy for me,” Kyrgios said according to the Miami Herald. “It made the training session more fun for me and, obviously, it’s a tough time for them, so if they can get out here and get their minds on something else, it’s pretty important."
It is not the first time Kyrgios has done his part to offer support to others. The World No. 20 created his NK Foundation to support underprivileged youth, and the foundation received an ATP ACES For Charity grant earlier this year.
Tough loss Sunday for @NickKyrgios, but he still won at the #AusOpen, spending time with kids who are battling disease after practice. @foundation_nk received an ATP Aces For Charity grant this year. Learn more about Kyrgios' efforts:— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) January 22, 2018
📷: Geoff Rankin
➡️ https://t.co/Q0gMwfGeXg pic.twitter.com/jmVjiMAHb8
"I’m a strong believer in making a difference where you can," Kyrgios tweeted Sunday evening.