The ATP Tour’s stars are known for their tennis. However, their philanthropic efforts off court are often just as impressive.
It was a challenging year in the world, from bushfires sweeping across Australia to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted countless lives. In the final installment of this year’s Best of 2020 series, ATPTour.com looks at how players, tournaments and others in the tennis world did their best to help their communities through the tough times.
At the start of the season, Australia was struggling with bushfires, with millions of acres of land being burned with countless consequences because of it. On 2 January, Nick Kyrgios started a movement that spread through the tennis world with a single tweet.
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) January 2, 2020
Many other players jumped in with their own personal pledges, with the #Aces4BushfireRelief campaign quickly moving through social media to garner support for the cause. Following the final of the inaugural ATP Cup, the ATP announced an AU$ 725,000 (US$ 500,000) donation from ATP players towards the WWF’s Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund as part of the bushfire relief efforts.
It created for emotional play in Australia. Kyrgios said, “When I’m playing, at the moment, I’m playing for a lot more than myself. I feel like I’m getting the best out of myself with that.”
Ahead of the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Kyrgios participated in the Rally For Relief alongside WTA stars, raising nearly AU $5 million for the Victorian Bushfire appeal.
Felix Auger-Aliassime won 4,904 points this season, and every one counted.
At the beginning of the season, the #NextGenATP Canadian announced his #FAAPointsForChange campaign, in which he would donate $5 for every point he won in 2020, with the money going to EduChange, partnering with CARE to support the protection and education of children in Togo. BNP Paribas pledged to donate $15 for every point Auger-Aliassime won.
“This year, more than ever, every point will matter,” Auger-Aliassime said at the campaign’s launch.
This year, @felixtennis launched #FAAPointsForChange with @CAREfrance and @BNPParibas: for each point Félix wins, 20$ is given to EduChange, contributing to the education and protection of children in Togo.
Here are all the actions undertaken thanks to the 4904 points scored ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/5169e76KfX
— We Are Tennis (@WeAreTennis) November 27, 2020
Cabal Launches Campaign To Help Colombian Families Combat COVID-19
Juan Sebastian Cabal, the No. 2 player in the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings, launched an initiative with his brother to help the most vulnerable people in his hometown of Cali, Colombia. Cabal promoted a campaign on social media to raise funds for buying food in local markets and delivering it to families in need.
Del Potro Donates ’13 Sneakers From SW19 To Support Battle Against Coronavirus
Juan Martin del Potro did his part to support those battling against COVID-19. Del Potro donated the shoes he wore during the 2013 Wimbledon semi-finals against Novak Djokovic to a charity auction in support of the Ramon Santamarina Hospital in Tandil, Argentina.
Dimitrov’s Ventilator Gift To Hometown Hospital
Grigor Dimitrov, the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion, donated ventilators to the hospital in his hometown of Haskovo in a bid to help those affected by COVID-19 in Bulgaria, his home country.
Djokovic Family’s €1 Million Donation Of Ventilators To Serbia
Novak Djokovic and Jelena Djokovic announced a €1 million donation through the Novak Djokovic Foundation for the purchase of ventilators and medical equipment to support hospitals and other medical institutions in Serbia’s battle against COVID-19.
Federer Makes Big Donation To Vulnerable Swiss Families
Roger Federer and his wife Mirka donated one million Swiss Francs (USD $1.02 million) to vulnerable families in Switzerland in the global fight against COVID-19.
Roger Federer Foundation Provided $1 Million For Meals In Africa
Federer announced that his foundation would donate $1 million to provide meals for young children and their families in Africa while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 103-time tour-level titlist took to Twitter to spread the message of the Roger Federer Foundation’s pledge, which was to feed 64,000 vulnerable people affected by the crisis.
Now more than ever we must come together to help families in need 🙏 https://t.co/c8fhhyRBIi
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) May 6, 2020
How Krawietz & Mies Gave Back
Kevin Krawietz learned from a friend who manages grocery stores in Munich that they needed workers to help during the pandemic. Krawietz got up to start shifts as early as 5:30am at Lidl, a German supermarket chain. Krawietz did everything from stocking shelves to disinfecting shopping carts and working security at the front entrance to ensure there were no more than 40 customers inside.
His doubles partner, Andreas Mies, worked with German football player Bastian Oczipca to deliver fruit to essential workers and the special needs community. The two athletes, who currently serve as ambassadors for the Special Olympics, delivered apples to the employees and residents of Lebenshilfe, a non-profit organisation that enables people with intellectual disabilities to lead a more independent life.
Mahut Fundraises With FIFA Tournament
Frenchman Nicolas Mahut organised the #RestezChezVousTrophy to offer gamers the opportunity to compete in an online FIFA 20 tournament with entry fees being donated to hospital staff. Mahut took to his Instagram account to announce details of the event and invite French players, including Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, to join the fun and help save lives by staying at home and reducing the spread of the virus.
Murray Donated Virtual Madrid Winnings To NHS & Players In Need
After winning the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro final, Andy Murray announced that his €45,000 prize money would be split equally between the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) and the Player Relief Programme.
Nadal Offered Refuge To Juniors Stranded By Coronavirus
In response to the global outbreak of COVID-19, Nadal took measures to ensure the safety of players stranded at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar. While following orders and recommendations from authorities, the 19-time Grand Slam champion made arrangements for players at his facility who could not return home due to a variety of issues, including travel restrictions.
Nadal & Gasol Supported Red Cross In Fighting Coronavirus
Rafael Nadal and six-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol launched the #NuestraMejorVictoria (Our Best Victory) campaign to encourage donations from Spanish sportsmen and sportswomen in the fight against COVID-19. The initiative, which forms part of the #CruzRojaResponde (Red Cross Responds) project, aims to raise €11 million and help citizens in need during this health emergency.
Nadal Donated ‘Precious Object’ For Charity Auction
As part of his continuing efforts to support those in need during these tough times, Nadal donated one of his 2019 Roland Garros final match shirts to the ‘La Mejor Asistencia’ (The Best Assistance) auction, organised by Liga ACB, Spain’s top professional basketball division.
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Nadal, Gasol Raise More Than €14m In Fight Against COVID-19
Nadal and Gasol confirmed in June that more than €14m was raised in the #NuestraMejorVictoria (Our Best Victory) campaign, far surpassing the goal they had set at the beginning of the initiative.
Nishikori, Anderson, Fritz Joined Celebrity Nintendo Tennis Event For Charity
Kei Nishikori, Kevin Anderson and Taylor Fritz competed alongside a star-studded cast of celebrities in the Stay at Home Slam, a live virtual tennis tournament on Nintendo Switch’s Mario Tennis Aces.
Competitors played the video game from their homes and they each received $25,000, donated to the charity of their choice. The winners of the tournament, Fritz and Addison Rae, received an additional $1,000,000 to donate to No Kid Hungry, which works to end child hunger in the United States..
“I was more nervous there than in any of my real matches,” Fritz joked.
Qureshi Delivered For Families In Pakistan
Two-time Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year winner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi refused to allow Pakistan’s daily workers to be forgotten during this pandemic. Through his foundation Stop War Start Tennis, Qureshi committed to financially supporting ration bags for 1,000 families that were unable to work and earn their daily sustenance. He has since raised enough money to support thousands more. Each ration bag consists of flour, rice, oil, grains, tea, milk and soap, and can feed a family of five. Qureshi got out in the field himself, making deliveries to those families.
Roddick: ‘We Have To Serve Families That Put Their Faith In Us’
The Andy Roddick Foundation announced the creation of a Family Emergency Fund to help families in need in Austin, Texas. Roddick’s foundation largely revolves around after-school and summer programming for the children in those families, but it has pivoted to support them through this pandemic. Roddick says the closing of schools hurt childhood education, but that it causes other issues in that there are families in the area that rely on the two meals per day kids get at school.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) April 13, 2020
Schwartzman: ‘We’ve Done Something To Help Entertain People In Their Homes’
Diego Schwartzman planned #LaChamplay — two FIFA 20 knock-out competitions including the participation of the two organisers and 14 celebrities — with his footballer friend Paulo Dybala. All money raised was for Red Cross Argentina, with World No. 3 Dominic Thiem among the stars competing.
Sinner Sets Pizza Challenge To Raise Funds
Sinner launched the #SinnerPizzaChallenge, which went viral. He promised to donate €10 alongside his management company StarWing Sports for every photo he receives of a pizza that resembles himself or any past or present Italian figure. The money raised will be used to fund vital medical supplies in Italy during the pandemic.
Sinner & Team Made Donation In Support Of Coronavirus Battle
Sinner announced on his social media that in conjunction with his management company, StarWing Sports, and coach, Riccardo Piatti, he is donating €12,500 to Cesvi, a humanitarian organisation, to aid with medical emergencies in Bergamo.
Trapped In India, Moldovan Baskov Fed The Masses
Moldovan Dmitrii Baskov visited India for the first time after the ATP Cup, stopping there to train before returning home. But with COVID-19 spreading, Baskov opted to remain in India.
Baskov did everything he could for the community, helping package 2,000 to 3,000 meals daily for those in need.
Tsitsipas Gave Back Through Charity Auction
Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion, found a new way to give back during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Greek launched ‘Beyond 100 Support’, an auction for which any money raised would go towards the Player Relief Programme, which will provide much-needed assistance to the players who are particularly affected during this time of the coronavirus crisis.
Tsonga, Gasquet Joined French Fundraising Efforts For Hospitals
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet led a list of French tennis stars in the fight against COVID-19, with the support of the French Tennis Federation, by donating personal items to a charity auction aimed at raising funds for Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP).
Ymer Brothers Featured In Tennis Against Corona
Mikael Ymer and Elias Ymer played a one-time exhibition match with each other at Tennis Against Corona, a new initiative created by the Stockholm Open and the Ymer brothers together to contribute to the Red Cross’ Global COVID-19 Emergency Relief.
Mutua Madrid Open Donated To Madrid’s Food Bank
With the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid not held as scheduled, the organisation put on the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, with 16 ATP and 16 WTA players participating. On top of the prize money given to players — champion Andy Murray donated all €45,000 he won — the tournament donated €50,000 to Madrid’s Food Bank.
Truist Atlanta Open Fed Frontline Healthcare Workers
The Truist Atlanta Open joined with partner, CIGNA, to feed some of Metro Atlanta’s frontline healthcare workers at Northside Hospital Cherokee on behalf of GF Sports, the Truist Atlanta Open, CIGNA and Waffle House.
The Waffle House Food Truck visited Northside Hospital Cherokee to feed the workers.
Stay At Home Gala Benefitted Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund
On Friday, 8 May, the inaugural Stay at Home Gala – Houston was held to support the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund, with Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, John Isner, Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey and Brad Gilbert among the stars in attendance.
The Stay at Home Gala – Houston is being organised by the tournament staff of the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, an ATP Tour tennis tournament that is normally held in April at River Oaks Country Club.
US Open Site Converted Into Temporary Hospital, Number Of Beds Was Increased
A temporary hospital was constructed at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open. The hospital was housed inside the Indoor Training Center at the NTC, which has 12 courts with about 100,000 square feet of space.
Additionally, teams utilised Louis Armstrong Stadium, the facility’s second-largest stadium, to fulfill meal packages to be sent to patients, workers and school children. There were 25,000 packages being produced per day, with those consisting of two days’ worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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Kyrgios Helped Feed Those In Need
Old El Paso tapped Nick Kyrgios to take part in the launch of their new Tortilla Pockets in Australia. Little did the Aussie know his effort would help thousands of people in need.
Kyrgios posted a video of himself playing tennis one-handed while eating an Old El Paso Tortilla Pocket. Through his NK Foundation, he donated 10,000 Mexican meal kits to Food Bank Australia, with each share of his video on Instagram adding one extra meal kit. Kyrgios then challenged other legends to take on the challenge and things took off from there, with 100,000 Old El Paso Mexican meal products and meals being donated to help local food banks and disadvantaged families across Australia, UK, France, Spain, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, UAE, Canada and the United States.
Tiafoe Made A Difference
American Frances Tiafoe made an off-court impact in more ways than one in 2020. The rising star, who supports ThanksUSA and the USTA’s National Junior Tennis and Learning Network (NJTL), auctioned off signed memorabilia to Athletes for COVID-19 Relief, with the funds benefitting the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. But he also did things to raise awareness for injustices in society.
Alongside girlfriend and fellow player Ayan Broomfield, Tiafoe posted ‘Racquets Down, Hands Up’, an impactful video that united the Black tennis community in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, featuring cameos from Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, James Blake, Gael Monfils, and more. Tiafoe also wore a Black Lives Matter mask at the US Open.
The ATP Coach & Player Fan Experience raised more than US$225,000 in support of members of the ATP Coach programme affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The auction, which ran across a six-week period, saw players, coaches and tournaments combine to create some unique fan experiences. Star players and coaches from present and past who contributed included Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Ivan Lendl, Darren Cahill, Paul Annacone and more.
Champions Against Cancer
The ATP, in collaboration with ATP players, launched an Ultimate Prize Draw in aid of Cancer Research UK, the official charity partner of the Nitto ATP Finals. The initiative gave tennis fans the chance to win exclusive signed memorabilia, a once-in-a-lifetime Nitto ATP Finals experience in 2021 in Turin, and a private serving masterclass with John Isner, passionate supporter of cancer charities.
Once the four winners of the prize draw were selected, they were surprised by Daniil Medvedev ahead of his second participation in the season finale. The Russian happily answered their questions and thanked them for their support of the campaign. One week later, he claimed the biggest title of his career.
Novak’s Season Of Giving
The Novak Djokovic Foundation has launched a Season of Giving campaign for the third consecutive year in the hopes of raising €100,000 to help open a preschool in both Vajska and Ljubis, two villages in Serbia. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and his wife, Jelena Djokovic, will match all donations.