ATP Players In Full Swing At Hurricane Harvey Charity Event
Roddick, Haas attend Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic
Past and present ATP World Tour stars including Andy Roddick and Tommy Haas united Friday and Saturday in Dallas at the second annual Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic to raise funds for the Hurricane Harvey Relief.
“Thanks to all you guys for coming out and supporting this event,” Nowitzki said. “This is obviously a tennis event, but the big deal was last night. We are raising money for Hurricane Harvey victims, and we had a great night last night, raised a lot of money so it was a complete success.”
ATP players, NBA superstars, NHL standouts and acting legends came together at the Southern Methodist University’s campus to give back to the Texas communities who were struck with chaos just weeks ago. On top of all the donations the tournament raised, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban pledged to match all the proceeds, up to 2 million dollars.
“To give to deserving people, especially from Hurricane Harvey, it is just such a pleasure to be part of such a great event,” said former doubles No. 1 Mark Knowles.
Other notable athletes and celebrities joining Mavericks legend Nowitzki, were Tennis Hall of Famer Andy Roddick, actor Owen Wilson, local hockey legend Mike Modano, Dallas Mavericks J.J. Barea, tennis professionals Donald Young and Tommy Haas, and retired players Benjamin Becker and Houston local Michael Russell.
Becker, who announced his retirement the same day as the charity event dinner, brought to the surface the importance of giving back to the community.
"Of course, it's great. This is my third event now with Dirk...I know he's doing great things with the kids’ book, he has his foundation, he's really in the area, but obviously with the hurricanes that happened and all proceeds going to the fund there. It's a great thing to do,” Becker explained. “Whatever I can do to give back I will take the chance and invest my time and whatever I can to help those people affected by it."
While it was all fun and games after winning his first event of the day on Saturday, Haas also made sure to make the primary focus of the event known.
“Over my career I always tried to help out if I can for greater things than just the sport in general,” Haas said. “It is a pleasure being here, seeing other familiar faces, and people giving back for these tragedies like Harvey and even Irma in Florida is a very nice thing to see people come together.”
“The people all around the world who have it pretty lucky, I think realise that, and you see everybody coming together and you see all these organizations putting everything in it that they can and trying to help all these people that really need it the most. It is a beautiful thing to see people participate.”
While many just see photos of the devastation on the news or online, Houston local Russell knows all to well the impact that Harvey had on the city.
“Last night the fundraising efforts were incredible. The people were willing to open their checkbooks and support everybody,” Russell said. “It means a lot. The city has been hit really hard, but the community has done a great job of coming together. Already starting the rebuilding efforts, but I want to help in any way that I can. This makes it extra special for me to be here and help out the Houstonians that are working hard to get back to a little bit of normalcy.”