On Sunday at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, ATP and WTA stars came together for a special fundraising event for the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster, dubbed “Tennis for Japan.” Kim Clijsters, Robin Soderling and Vera Zvonareva, as well as Japan’s Kei Nishikori, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Ayumi Morita, walked through the Stadium Court stands to collect donations from fans and encouraged the public to show support for the victims. In total, thanks to contributions from the WTA, ATP, the Grand Slams, Sony Ericsson, ITF, IMG, SAP, Itaú, Fila, adidas, Lagardère and the fans, the evening raised over $300,000, which will be donated to the Red Cross and other relief organizations.
“Tennis is a global sport, and when a tragedy strikes, the entire tennis community comes together and responds,” said tournament director Adam Barrett.
“All of us have been deeply touched by the terrible disaster in Japan,” said Zvonareva. “As tennis players, we travel the world and play in Japan each year, so the disaster has touched all of us on a personal level.”
“It’s been horrible to follow what happened in Japan, and it’s our duty to do as much as we can,” said Soderling.
Additionally, numerous players, including Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Ai Sugiyama, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, recorded video messages of hope supporting the victims.
Shortly after the disaster, Nishikori established a Facebook page in partnership with the Red Cross to collect money for Japan’s victims. Fans can visit www.facebook.com/#!/keinishikori and click on the “Japan Disaster Relief” tab in order to help. Nishikori also created an online auction at aceauthentic.com/keinishikori/main/index.php. Date-Krumm established a Relief Fund account at kimiko-date.com/gien/index.html.