Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer in benefit

Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play an exhibition match on Sunday ahead of the Australian Open to raise funds for the country’s flood victims.

Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Kim Clijsters will join Lleyton Hewitt in a “Rally for Relief” match at Rod Laver Arena. Also participating will be Sam Stosur and retired star Pat Rafter, who both come from the affected state of Queensland.

Stosur said the flooding, which has killed 25 people since November and trashed the city of Brisbane, is an “enormous disaster” and “lots of us just want to make some sort of contribution.”

Federer, Nadal and Clijsters took part in a similar fundraising match last year — that time following the earthquake in Haiti.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

I think this is a marvellous statement of the mindset of Federer and Nadal, the top two dogs of tennis, putting their rivalry aside the day before the beginning of the Australian Open to put on an Exhibition match in favor of the flood relief… A Rally for Relief… There are several other top tennis players doing this as well. Sports — and the athletes playing them — can provide such an powerful platform for sending “values” messages to the public. This is one strong message by Feds and Rafa, reputting the focus on life over titles. Bravo. Tickets only cost $20, a steal!

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