Roger Federer’s ‘Hit for Haiti’ raises $600,000; Andy Murray’s problem with cycling shorts

By Jocelyn Gecker, AP
Sunday, January 31, 2010

Federer’s Haiti charity match raises $600,000

MELBOURNE, Australia — More than just a champion, Roger Federer was recognized Sunday as a humanitarian.

A charity match initiated by Federer to raise money for Haiti earthquake victims has raised more than $600,000, said Tennis Canada head Geoff Pollard.

The Jan. 12 earthquake that has killed at least 150,000 in Haiti struck three days before the start of the Australian Open.

Federer organized a mixed-doubles fundraiser on the eve of the Open that featured some of tennis’ top stars, wearing microphones on court and providing comedic commentary as they played.

Among them were Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters and Lleyton Hewitt.

The match at the Rod Laver Arena raised about $125,000, with seats priced to sell at just under $10.

Donations poured in after that: the ATP Tour, the WTA Tour and the International Tennis Federation contributed a combined $265,000, and the Grand Slam Committee gave $177,000, Pollard told the crowd on center court after Federer won his 16th Grand Slam final.

Federer beat Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (11), to win his 16th Grand Slam title and his fourth Australian Open.

Players have also donated rackets that are being auctioned on eBay and have raised almost $40,000.

“Haiti is a tragedy that has touched the hearts of the world,” Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood said in the statement. “The tennis community just wanted to help.”

TOO MUCH INFORMATION: Andy Murray was asked why he kept touching his left hip during the championship match.

“It’s not really a problem. It’s not really my left hip. It’s quite hard to explain,” said Murray, who then went on to explain.

“I wear cycling shorts, and sometimes they’re quite tight. So you need to — you know, Roddick does it a lot, it’s kind of what Rafa does on his other side,” he said.

Andy Roddick is known to tug at the front of his shorts and Rafael Nadal regularly pulls at the back of his shorts.

“I don’t really know what I’m trying to say, but basically my hip is fine,” Murray said, smiling. “It was just the cycling shorts were tight.”

NOW FOR THE NUMBERS: A record number of fans attended the Australian Open this year, where players ordered more than 2,000 pasta dishes and vendors sold 110,000 ice creams every day.

The two-week figure for crowd attendance was 653,860, up by nearly 50,000 from the previous record, organizers said in a statement.

China’s Li Na and Zheng Jie created history when they became the first two Chinese players to reach a Grand Slam semifinal, drawing a record number of Chinese journalists — who were among the 1,500 covering the event, the statement said.

British media also attended in record numbers to cover Andy Murray’s attempt to end a 74-year Grand Slam drought for British men.

The fastest serves of the tournament were recorded by Americans Taylor Dent (144 mph) and Venus Williams (125 mph).

A team of racket stringers strung 3,297 rackets, using close to 24 miles of string.

The Australian Open Facebook page drew 56,696 fans and nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter.

will not be displayed