“Hopefully that will keep inspiring people to support this terrible disaster that we were going through and helps recover all the things that we need,” said world No. 1 Nadal before taking to the court for a doubles match.
It was announced at the end of the exhibition that $3,324,858 (4,826,014 AUSD) has been raised by Tennis Australia ahead of the Australian Open so far.
Players were mic’d up and there was no shortage of antics on the court, including American Gauff single-handedly taking on three players for one point.
A later point saw all four players from both sides take to the court, only for Gauff to finish the rally with a crisp backhand volley.
Firefighters who have been battling the flames were invited to sit courtside for the event, with Deb Borg winning a point while playing alongside Nadal.
Federer then took to the court and defeated Australian Nick Kyrgios 7-6 in a singles match.
“It’s been hard to watch,” said the Swiss star of the bushfires.
“You get it through the news how bad it really is, but then you hear more and more about it and you get the sense that it’s really, really bad. Then you get down here and you speak to the people as well who have been affected — it’s been difficult.
“You wish that doesn’t happen in your country. In Switzerland we’re quite lucky, we don’t have these extreme situations. Always happy to help, always happy to lend my time or my money for that matter. It was an absolute pleasure to be here.”
Kyrgios started a wave of support from the tennis community when he agreed to donate $140 (200 AUSD) for every ace he hits at upcoming tournaments, an offer which has sparked similar gestures from fellow players.
Tennis Australia has pledged $69 (100 USD) for every ace hit at tournaments leading up to the Australian Open, of which there have been 4,104 so far.
The organization is also donating 700,000 (1 million AUSD) towards the repair of tennis facilities damaged by the fires.
More weather delays
“Conditions at Melbourne Park are being constantly monitored and further decisions will be made using the onsite data and in close consultation with our medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and scientists from EPA Victoria,” said a statement from tournament organizers.
“The onsite data and measurements early this morning were similar to yesterday, when Australian Open practice and play were suspended and delayed.”
Qualifying matches for next week’s grand slam were then suspended later in the day because of heavy rain.