Vania King knows that the global coronavirus pandemic has left a lot of people’s plans up in the air.
The American herself was abruptly sent into an early retirement after Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston - which were supposed to be her final three tournaments - were called off due to the pandemic, with the WTA season remaining suspended until June 7.
But as society stays shut down in order to combat the spread of the virus, its effects are being felt far beyond the world of tennis. That’s why King, 31, has shared a new initiative on her social media channels to help meet the needs of the most affected.
Hoping everyone is staying safe and healthy, we will get through this together! I’m giving away $500 to five people in need, please send an email to email@example.com and explain how the money can help. Decisions will be made at the end of the month. ❤️🌎 #payitforward #wta pic.twitter.com/qYAWXmVrUf— Vania King (@queen_v21) March 20, 2020
“I was reading a lot of news about the coronavirus and how it’s affecting people,” King told wtatennis.com in a phone interview. “Even the ones who don’t get the virus, I was seeing a lot of stories about people losing their jobs, having to close businesses, pay cuts, just struggling to make ends meet. I felt for them and I was trying to figure out a way I could help.
“And I know that there’s a lot of people in need and obviously as one person I can’t help everybody. But I figured if I could help a couple of people, then hopefully that could make a difference.”
UPDATE @WTA Charities is matching my donation+ a selfless donor will help 3 more! We’re now giving away $500 to help 13 people. If you/someone you know is affected by coronavirus, pls email firstname.lastname@example.org & explain how the money will help.#payitforward #wtacharities pic.twitter.com/b4XbGRZ7QS— Vania King (@queen_v21) March 24, 2020
King, a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion, has pledged to donate $500 each to five people “to help ease their financial burden,” according to the post. Applicants are asked to send an email describing their circumstance and how the money would be spent. The ones selected will be contacted at the end of the month and will receive the money directly via mobile pay apps Venmo or Paypal.
“Things are happening so quickly that a lot of people weren’t prepared. People need direct help right away,” King explained. “That’s why I made it like this.”
To date, King has received dozens of emails from families and individuals in need, but she’s also gotten several messages from those looking to make her donations go further. WTA Charities has announced it will be matching King’s initial donation, while tennis TV presenter and emcee Andrew Krasny has donated an additional $1,000 and Faithful Deliveries, a Tampa business, has donated another $1,500 - bringing the total of people benefited to 15.
“I was just trying to help out a couple of people in need and hopefully make an impact in whatever way I could, even though it’s small,” King said. “I’m really excited that WTA Charities has gotten involved, and [some generous donors] have helped too.”
“We’re trying to help as many people as possible even beyond this initial donation.”
Fans of the WTA and its charitable efforts can learn more by visiting www.wtatennis.com/wta-charities.