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Federer, Nadal rally for Australia flood relief

Last updated on: January 16, 2011 14:08 IST

Federer, Nadal rally for Australia flood relief

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Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and other top tennis players hammed it up in exhibition matches on the eve of the Australian Open to raise money for victims of the country's devastating floods on Sunday.

The men's titans shelved their fierce rivalry to play a few farcical points before teaming up in doubles against Belgium's Kim Clijsters and local hope Sam Stosur in front of 15,000 spectators at a packed Rod Laver Arena.


Image: Rafael Nadal (2nd R), Roger Federer, Sam Stosur (R) and Kim Clijsters (L) embrace at the Rally for Relief tennis match in Melbourne
Photographs: Reuters
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'Hopefully we can take some of the stress away'

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At least 18 people have been killed in Stosur's home state of Queensland, where floods spanning an area the size of France and Germany combined have obliterated whole towns and left thousands homeless. Dozens more people are missing.

Floods have also ravaged Australia's other eastern states, with large swathes of New South Wales and Victoria inundated.

"Obviously it's not going to bring back some of the lives that have been lost but hopefully we can take some of the stress away," third seed Clijsters said on the arena's sun-drenched court.


Image: Novak Djokovic entertains the crowd

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Players clown around the court

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With a mission of bringing some light-hearted cheer amid huge clean-up efforts, miked-up players clowned around the court, playing shots between their legs and mixing wisecracks with exaggerated grunts.

Caroline Wozniacki posed in a figure-hugging pink and white sports dress as Serbian world number three Novak Djokovic snapped her with a borrowed camera from the sidelines.

"I can see more than you think!" quipped Djokovic, waving the camera's extended zoom at her.


Image: Caroline Wozniacki poses for the camera during a rally

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A$10 for every ace hit during Aus Open

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Ticket-buying spectators raised A$300,000 ($296,000) during the 'Rally for Relie'" event and corporate sponsors kicked in hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

Fundraising efforts will continue throughout the January 17-30 event, with players pledging to auction off their shirts and the governing bodies of the men's and women's tours donating A$10 for every ace hit in the tournament.

The Australian Open starts on Monday.


Image: Victoria Azarenka covers her head with a towel as Andy Roddick watches

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