ATP makes $500,000 donation for Australian bushfire relief

FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises from a fire at the Adaminaby Complex near Yaouk, New South Wales, Australia January 11, 2020. REUTERS/Tracey Nearmy

(Reuters) - The ATP will donate $500,000 (£382,877.71) to the WWF Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund as part of the bushfire relief efforts, the governing body of men’s tennis said on Sunday.

The donation from players was announced by Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal after Serbia defeated Spain to capture the inaugural ATP Cup team event in Sydney.

The Australian bush has been burning for nearly three months and the fires have killed 28 people, claimed 2,000 homes and consumed millions of acres of land and wildlife.

"This donation with the ATP is on behalf of all the players and our thoughts and support go out to all those who have been affected," ATP Player Council president Djokovic added in a statement here released later.

“Australia is such an amazing and welcoming country and it feels like home for us at the start of each season. To see the damage to wildlife and nature... has been devastating.”

As part of the #Aces4BushfireRelief campaign, several ATP and WTA players have pledged personal donations towards relief and recovery efforts.

Serena Williams -- who donated her earnings after winning the Auckland Classic on Sunday -- as well as Roger Federer and Nadal will feature in an exhibition match on Jan. 15 ahead of the Australian Open to raise funds.

Former Australia cricketer Shane Warne, who raised over $690,000 by auctioning off his prized “baggy green” cap, will play in a charity Twenty20 game next month for bushfire relief.

The Australian Open tennis tournament, the first Grand Slam of the year, starts in Melbourne on Jan. 20.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond