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Climate action Roger Federer will donate to victims of Australia bushfires

Federer

Roger Federer will be competing in the Australian Open in Melbourne. The event runs from January 20 to February 2.

(Keystone)

Facing criticism from climate change activists, including Greta Thunberg, Swiss tennis star Roger Federer announced on Monday that he would make a donation to the victims of the fires ravaging Australia.

"If we can help, it's good to show our solidarity in the face of a situation that has become quite incredible in the country," said the world's number 3 during a publicity event in Melbourne.

Federer has been criticised by environmental activists, including the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, for his sponsorship deal with Credit Suisse which they allege invests in fossil fuels.

Like the many other tennis personalities who have pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars, Federer said he will "also make a personal donation” on Wednesday.

The announcement was made at a charity match to raise money for Australia alongside Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, among others.

Responding to the criticism by environmentalists for his relationship with Credit Suisse, Federer said he was "grateful to the young climate activists for pushing us all to examine our behavior.

"Since 2016, Credit Suisse has provided $57 billion to companies looking for new fossil fuel deposits - which is totally incompatible with #ClimateAction. Roger Federer, do you approve of this?" wrote the environmental NGO 350.org in a message retweeted by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

"I appreciate the reminders regarding my responsibility as an individual, as an athlete and as an entrepreneur, and I commit myself to using this privileged position to dialogue on important issues with my sponsors," Federer replied in a statement.

The men's tour players donated $500,000, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) reported on Sunday, while on the same day American Serena Williams donated her winnings from her victory at the Auckland tournament.

The stars of world tennis will be at the Australian Open starting January 20 for the first Grand Slam tournament of the season.

Federer, 38, has won the Australian Open six times.

Australia fires

Australia has been ravaged by the worst wildfires seen in decades.

(Keystone)

Keystone-SDA/swissinfo,ch/ds

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