Roger Federer in action during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open.
Roger Federer in action during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open.

Federer hits back after climate change criticism

Roger Federer has responded to criticism from teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg, saying he is "happy to be reminded" of his responsibilities.

The Swiss 20-times Grand Slam champion came under fire from Swede Thunberg last week when she criticised bank Credit Suisse for its record of loans to fossil fuel industries.

Federer, who has a sponsorship deal with Credit Suisse, was urged to "wake up" in a Twitter post by Thunberg last week.

The 38-year-old, preparing for the Australian Open, issued a statement saying he had a "great deal of respect and admiration" for the youth climate movement inspired by Thunberg.

"I take the impacts and threat of climate change very seriously, particularly as my family and I arrive in Australia amidst devastation from the bushfires," Federer said.

"As the father of four young children and a fervent supporter of universal education, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the youth climate movement, and I am grateful to young climate activists for pushing us all to examine our behaviours and act on innovative solutions.

 

"We owe it to them and ourselves to listen. I appreciate reminders of my responsibility as a private individual, as an athlete and as an entrepreneur, and I'm committed to using this privileged position to dialogue on important issues with my sponsors."

Federer will join other top players including Serena Williams, who has donated her Auckland prizemoney to bushfire relief, at charity event Rally for Relief in Melbourne this week, raising funds for the efforts to tackle the devastating bushfires that have killed at least 28 people, destroyed hundreds of homes and decimated wildlife.

Meanwhile, the ATP will donate $US500,000 ($A725,000) to the WWF Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund as part of the bushfire relief efforts, the governing body of men's tennis says.

The donation from players was announced by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal after Serbia defeated Spain to capture the inaugural ATP Cup team event in Sydney.

"This donation with the ATP is on behalf of all the players and our thoughts and support go out to all those who have been affected," ATP Player Council president Djokovic added in a statement.

"Australia is such an amazing and welcoming country and it feels like home for us at the start of each season. To see the damage to wildlife and nature … has been devastating."

As part of the #Aces4BushfireRelief campaign, several ATP and WTA players have pledged personal donations towards relief and recovery efforts.


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