Tennis Stars Raise Funds for Japan Disaster Relief

Friday evening at the Sony Ericsson Open, the tennis family came together for a special fundraising event for the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster, dubbed “Tennis for Japan”, featuring the stars of the WTA and the ATP World Tour. 

Kim Clijsters, Robin Soderling, Vera Zvonareva, and many others, including Japan’s Kei Nishikori, Kimiko Date-Krumm, and Ayumi Morita, walked through the stands of the Stadium Court to collect donations from fans and encouraged the public to show support for the victims. 

In total, thanks to contributions from the WTA, ATP World Tour, the Grand Slams (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open), Sony Ericsson, ITF, IMG, SAP, Itau, FILA, adidas and Lagardere, and the fans, the evening raised over $300,000 which will be donated to the Red Cross and other relief organizations to aid the victims of the disaster. 

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Meanwhile, Car Town creator Cie Games, a leading developer of online social games, says it will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of the virtual emergency vehicle to the American Red Cross and its Japan disaster relief efforts. (Read: Wanted: Facebook Gamers for Japan Disaster Relief)

“Tennis is a global sport and when a tragedy strikes, the entire tennis community comes together and responds,” said Adam Barrett, Sony Ericsson Open Tournament director. “I think the fact that the entire tennis family has come together tonight to help raise money for the relief effort makes a powerful statement about the sport, its players, and sponsors.”

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. 

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Videos will be shown throughout the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open and online on Facebook and both the WTA and the ATP World Tour’s websites.  

You can visit www.facebook.com/keinishikori and click on the “Japan Disaster Relief” tab in order to help. 

The WTA tournament in Tokyo, the Toray Pan Pacific Open, is also organizing a charity auction of the WTA players’ signed memorabilia and collectibles which will kick off in April. 

[ Also Read: Impact of Japan Earthquake on Nokia Business ]

Moreover, on Wednesday night in Miami, many of the ATP World Tour’s top players took part in the ‘Hope Match for Japan’, a charity football match between the ATP World Tour All-Stars and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a North American Soccer League team.

Marcos Baghdatis, voted the team’s most valuable player, and Andy Murray scored goals for the ATP World Tour All-Stars, which was captained by World No. 2 Djokovic.

A total of 17 ATP World Tour players took part, including World No.1 Nadal and Nishikori. The charity match, which the Fort Lauderdale Strikers won 4-2, was followed by a gala dinner which raised more than $100,000.

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