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Florida Tennis Briefs(3): Miami Fundraisers for Japan, UF Spotlight

March 29, 2011 04:02 PM
'Tennis for Japan' Raises $300K at Sony Ericsson in Miami

ATP and WTA stars such as Kim Clijsters, Robin Soderling, Vera Zvonareva, and Japan's Kei Nishikori, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Ayumi Morita came together for a special fundraising event on the first Sunday of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. The "Tennis for Japan" exhibition raised more than $300,000 for for the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami disasters.

Players walked through the Stadium Court stands to collect donations from fans and encouraged the public to show support for the victims. Players such as world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Ai Sugiyama, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic also recorded video messages of hope supporting the victims.

"Tennis is a global sport, and when a tragedy strikes, the entire tennis community comes together and responds," said Miami Tournament Director Adam Barrett.

Organizations making contributions included the WTA, ATP, the Grand Slams, Sony Ericsson, ITF, IMG, SAP, Itau, Fila, adidas and Lagardere.

"It's been horrible to follow what happened in Japan, and it's our duty to do as much as we can," Soderling said.

Fans can donate by visiting www.facebook.com/#!/keinishikori and clicking on the "Japan Disaster Relief" tab.

Djokovic, Nadal, Players Raise Money for Japan with Soccer vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were among the players that took on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers professional soccer team on March 23, 2011, during the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami to raise money for the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

Andy Murray scored a goal for the ATP squad, that was also made up of Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, Viktor Troicki, Jurgen Melzer and Marcos Baghdatis, who also scored a goal. The Strikers won the game 4-2.

Afterwards Djokovic teamed with GR8 Miami to hold a fundraising dinner and after-party attended by more than 200 supporters. The high-ticket item of the night was a tennis
hit with Djokovic which alone went for more than $5,000. Also on hand at the event to show support for his homeland was Japan's Kei Nishikori, who has been actively raising funds through his own online auction.

"I want to thank everyone who made the charity event for Japan here in Miami a big success. The soccer match was great and the charity dinner afterwards could not have
been any better," Djokovic said. "The important thing is the amount raised in order to help people in Japan through the Red Cross. Once again thanks for everything to this great team."

TOC Championship Spotlight: University of Florida

The USTA National Campus Championship is the pinnacle event for college club tennis teams from around the country. Sixty-four colleges qualify for the championship through their respective USTA Campus Championship -- Section Events and compete for bragging rights and the illustrious title of National Champion. The 2011 event is taking place April 7-9 at Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C., and the University of Florida team will try to go one step further this year after finishing in second place at the 2010 championship.

UF-A-Girls-Winners-webUSTA.com recently spoke with Florida club president Kenny Palmer about his team's preparations for the tournament, which teams he hopes to face in the competition, their favorite Tennis On Campus moment of the season and much more.

USTA.com: What is your team doing to prepare for the upcoming National Campus Championship?

Club President Kenny Palmer: We have set club practices three times a week for two hours each day, with extra practices for those players traveling to nationals with lots of match play.

USTA.com: What is your team looking forward to most about attending the National Campus Championship?

Kenny Palmer: Playing players from all over the country rather than just within our state, and the opportunity to finally travel and play out of Florida!
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