Adelaide-born Darren Cahill called the catastrophic flooding in the northeastern Australian state of Queensland — which has affected more than 30,000 homes and claimed the lives of at least 16 people — “stunning” and “frightening.”
“I’m 45 years of age, and I’ve never seen a tragedy like this in my time,” said Cahill, who only a few weeks ago was at the Brisbane International and the Queensland Tennis Center, which is now under about 10 feet of water. “We’ve seen tragedies around the world, but Australia’s so far away from everybody else. This is really close to the bone for us.”
“We’ve seen the tragedy unfold on our TV screens, and we’re all quite stunned,” added Cahill, who’s serving as an ESPN analyst at the Jan. 17-30 Australian Open in Melbourne, which was not affected by the flooding.
Cahill recently took part in a flood relief effort during the World Tennis Challenge in Adelaide, and high-profile athletes such as John McEnroe and Lance Armstrong have donated to the cause. Plus, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Kim Clijsters and Australian Sam Stosur are among those who will play a special Rally For Relief fundraising exo on Jan. 16 at Rod Laver Arena.
“Along with many of the other players, I was moved by the devastation,” Federer told reporters. “We just wanted to do something to help aid the recovery because we know there are thousands of Australians who will continue to suffer as a result of this disaster.”
“We’ve never seen anything quite like this,” said Cahill. “I really feel for everybody up in Brisbane.”