Barty’s massive bushfire pledge
WORLD No.1 Ash Barty will donate her Brisbane International prizemoney, which could total more than $350,000, to the Red Cross bushfire appeal.
With bushfires continuing to ravage Australia, Barty will dig deep in her own pocket to help victims.
Should she win her hometown tournament, which starts at the Queensland Tennis Centre Monday, Barty's contribution to the relief cause will be $US250,000, which at the current exchange rate totals $359,475.92.
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An animal lover, Barty has already contributed more than $30,000 in cash and equipment to the RSPCA.
"I've been sitting down and thinking with my team and my family … trying to think of ways we can help," Barty said.
"There have been some really great initiatives from cricketers, tennis players, golfers, soccer players, all over the country, people trying to help out.
"We've come to the decision that any of my prizemoney in Brisbane will be donated to the Red Cross so it can towards the families and homes that have been affected.
"And now I've been able to give a little bit to the wildlife and to the people as well and it's been really, really special."
Barty said the bushfires were a reminder for her that there was more to life than just tennis.
"Tennis is a sport. It's a game that we play, and there are certainly a lot of bigger things going on in Australia right now that we need to take care of," she said.
"What matters is that Australians stay safe … you need to put things into perspective and worry about the bigger things in life first.
"It's been really terrible. We have to remember, this has been going on for a long time across our whole country."
Barty said the gravity of the situation first hit her when she was flying across the country after competing for Australia in the Fed Cup final in Perth in November.
"We could see some of the smoke and some of the fires from the plane, so that really hit home with me," she said.
"The worst of it is still out there at the moment. It's been going on for two months."
Barty's prizemoney donation continues the tennis fraternity's contribution to bushfire relief.
Nick Kyrgios is going to donate $200 for every ace he serves during the Australian summer of tennis, while Tennis Australia will fork out $100 for each ace at the ATP Cup currently being played in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.
There will also be an AO (Australian Open) Rally for Relief exhibition match at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Wednesday, January 15 involving the world's best players.
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said: "It is heartbreaking to see the devastation the bushfires are wreaking across the country and to see so many people and communities suffering.
"We are working closely with the top players and have already had a great response, with many of them keen to help this incredibly important cause."