Rafael Nadal, Coco Gauff play in US Open exhibition to learn Ukraine

Published:Mar 10, 202422:39
Rafael Nadal, Coco Gauff play in US Open exhibition to learn Ukraine

Coco Gauff’s footwear carried the message “Play for Peace” as she joined Rafael Nadal, Iga Swiatek and different tennis stars in a pre-U.S. Open exhibition occasion on Wednesday evening that helped generate greater than $1 million for humanitarian help in Ukraine.

“You guys all know me. I like to talk out when it’s proper,” Gauff mentioned after teaming with former participant John McEnroe in a blended doubles match in opposition to Nadal and Swiatek. “I’m glad that I used to be capable of be part of this.”

The U.S. Tennis Affiliation mentioned 100% of proceeds from gross sales of tickets to its “Tennis Performs for Peace Exhibition” in Louis Armstrong Stadium went to a global non-profit group. Different gamers taking part included Ukrainian professionals Dayana Yastremska and Katarina Zavatska, 2021 U.S. Open finalist Leylah Fernandez, Carlos Alcarez, Maria Sakkari, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jessica Pegula.

“It actually means so much to see so many individuals supporting Ukraine,” Zavatska advised the gang, noting that it was her nation’s Independence Day. “I actually hope and I want that subsequent 12 months we are going to have a good time this present day in freedom.”

Match director Stacey Allaster mentioned $1.2 million was raised as a part of the USTA’s effort to generate a minimum of $2 million to learn Ukraine by the tip of the U.S. Open, which begins on Monday.

“The every day combating goes on... So each greenback that Ukraine can get is a life saved, a baby fed,” mentioned Sergiy Stakhovsky, a former professional participant from Ukraine.

Earlier within the day, two-time main champion and former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka was dropped from the exhibition. Azarenka is from Belarus, which helped Russia launch its invasion of Ukraine in February. At the very least one Ukrainian tennis participant, Marta Kostyuk, questioned having a Belarusian participant take part on Wednesday evening.

The USTA issued a press release on Wednesday, saying: “Within the final 24 hours, after cautious consideration and dialogue with all events concerned, Victoria Azarenka is not going to be taking part this night. Vika is a robust participant chief and we recognize her willingness to take part. Given the sensitivities to Ukrainian gamers, and the continuing battle, we consider that is the precise plan of action for us.”

Azarenka and all gamers representing Russia or Belarus have been banned from coming into Wimbledon — which was held in June and July — due to the invasion of Ukraine. The USTA introduced in June that it will enable these athletes to compete within the U.S. Open.

Azarenka received the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, and was the runner-up on the U.S. Open in 2012, 2013 and 2020.

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