SEATTLE — The Championships is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and it takes place in Wimbledon, London. The men’s singles tournament started on June 24 and the women’s singles tournament started the day after. Major news channels, such as ESPN, have been covering the event, and players like Roger Federer and Serena Williams have center court seats packed full. The winner of the men’s and women’s singles tournaments will each individually earn $2.98 million. There are tennis players fighting poverty, and this money will help fund their charities.
Due to the popular demand of tournaments, and the high prize money, tennis has made some players among some of the richest athletes in the world. For example, Forbes recently reported that Federer was the fifth highest-paid athlete in the world, and Novak Djokovic number 17. Amassing these large fortunes, many players put their money to good use, often creating foundations and playing in various charity matches to help the world’s poor. Here are the top five tennis players fighting poverty.
Top 5 Tennis Players Fighting Poverty
- Roger Federer
Roger Federer started the Roger Federer Foundation (RFF) at 22 years old. The foundation operates in South Africa and Switzerland with a mission of providing impoverished kids the chance to succeed by providing quality education to young children. The organization also promotes extra-curricular activities for children affected by poverty and teaches them sport. As of the end of 2018, the foundation achieved a major milestone: reaching 1 million children.
- Steffi Graf
Steffi Graf is a former German professional tennis player with many accomplishments on the court. She has won a total of 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Off the court, Graff has also made great strides in regards to her philanthropy. In 1998, Graff founded Children for Tomorrow, a foundation that provides therapeutic treatment of children and adolescents who have been victims of war, flight and organized violence. Children for Tomorrow is currently representing 17 countries of origin, including Uganda and Eritrea.
- Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal, a Spanish tennis player, has won a total of 18 Grand Slam singles titles. In 2008, he and his mother, Ana María Parera, created the Rafa Nadal Foundation. His foundation’s mission is to integrate socially-disadvantaged children into society and eliminate the threat of exclusion due to their status by educating youth through sport. The Rafa Nadal Foundation hosts many charity events throughout the year, directly benefiting 905 children in 2018.
- Andy Murray
Andy Murray is a British tennis player with three Grand Slam singles under his belt. Although Murray does not have his own foundation, he is still philanthropic, supporting many causes and donating to many charities that focus on helping to alleviate global poverty. He is a founding member of the Malaria No More U.K. Leadership Council and supports charities such as Comic Relief, Global Fund, Make-A-Wish Foundation and SportsAid.
- Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic, a Serbian tennis player, who has amassed 15 Grand Slam singles titles in his career so far, has also joined the fight to help alleviate global poverty. Djokovic founded the Novak Djokovic Foundation alongside his wife, Jelena Djokovic. Djokovic grew up in Serbia and was subjected to many conflicts and hardships, as his country was a war zone. Through the Novak Djokovic Foundation, Djokovic and his team consistently work to ensure children living in war zones get access to an early education. He has participated and donated to schools in Serbia and worked alongside the children in his programs to ensure they are taken care of. The Novak Djokovic Foundation has helped a total of 20,708 children and supported 980 families.
– Natalie Chen