Zverev makes incredible $4m donation pledge after reaching second round
Alex Zverev looked comfortable enough when beating Marco Cecchinato 6-4 7-6 6-3 to reach the second round of the Australian Open - and made a remarkable pledge to the bushfire relief fund in his post-match interview.
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Zverev won his match on Margaret Court Arena and then told the fans present that for every match he wins at this year's Australian Open he will donate A$10,000 to bushfire relief charities.
Incredibly, Zverev then added that if he wins the whole tournament, he will give every single cent of the prize money to the relief fund.
The prize money for a singles winner in Melbourne is A$4.12 million.
“Obviously Australia is a country that is home for us for over a month’s time every single year and we heard what is going on with the bushfires, we heard what is going on with the animals and the people who are losing their homes,” said Zverev.
“So I will donate A$10,000 for every match that I win here. I know I’m not the favourite to win this event, but if I win this event I’m going to donate every single cent to the bushfires.”
Zverev told reporters afterwards that he had been considering the gesture since the ATP Cup.
"I've said it a lot of times, I'm not a money-driven person," he said. "I play the sport because I absolutely love it. I play the sport because I enjoy playing on big stadium courts, I enjoy playing the toughest matches in front of an amazing crowd.
" For me to have the opportunity to do that, I think I'm very fortunate. There is people right now in a country we call home for ourselves for a month basically every single year that not only cannot do the things that they love but also lost their homes, lost sometimes loved ones. I just think we as the fortunate people, we as the people that are not as affected in it, should try to help and should try to help in any way possible. Obviously I'm more fortunate than maybe other people are. But any cent I think could help, any way possible could help the Australian people, the Australian animals, the Australian nature in general."
He added: "For me, if I win the Australian Open, I will be the happiest person on the planet. I think that A$4 million will be in much better use in the hands that know what to do with it, and know how to help others. For me, my parents always taught me to take care of first of all the ones that you love, but it's also important to take care of the people that need it more than yourself.
"For me, obviously A$4 million is a lot of money. For the people in need, it's more important right now. So this is a gesture that I thought about for a long time."
I didn't win the Australian Open yet, I won one match, but I hope maybe it will get a lot of support and maybe it will come to it. If it happens, I'll be the happiest person on the planet.