MIAMI -- The stars of the Hologic WTA Tour and ATP Tour are used to competing against each other, but earlier this week, they came together in a big way.
The world’s best tennis players ventured into the wider South Florida community for the second edition of Miami Open Unites, a series of events held throughout the day in which athletes competing in the Miami Open presented by Itau supported those in need, inspired the next generation and more.
Andy Murray, Frances Tiafoe, Sania Mirza and Jessica Pegula visited Moore Park Tennis Centre, which was founded by Arthur Ashe and Butch Buchholz, to participate in a clinic put on by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami and answer questions from the kids.
Pegula was touched by hearing from some of the kids and learning how the program has been able to improve the lives of many kids in the area.
“It was pretty incredible to hear some of the stories of some of the partnerships that they’ve done, and matching kids with mentors and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and how some of them have even gone on and been professional athletes just like us,” Pegula said. “It’s really special and just kind of humbling. “It’s really super important. It’s the reason why I think we all are happy to be here, to do this, to give back to the community that is putting on the event.”
Said Murray: “I think it’s so important. You see kids here from all different backgrounds just enjoying picking up tennis racquets. Some are playing for the first time and that’s ultimately what we want to do. We want to try and give back to our sport a little bit and inspire some kids to take up tennis.”
Elsewhere, Fabio Fognini, Casper Ruud and Simona Halep helped Rebuilding Together, which repairs and rebuilds housing for senior citizens and veterans, while Jannik Sinner and Sloane Stephens joined the Miami Open team for a donation to Dress For Success, a not-for-profit organization that provides women a network of support, professional attire and more.
Matteo Berrettini, Denis Shapovalov and Belinda Bencic, all big fans of dogs, went to the Humane Society of Greater Miami to help groom some lost and forgotten animals from South Florida. The ultimate goal of the center is to help prepare the animals for adoption.
“Today we are at the dog shelter, we are making dog baths and I think it’s very nice,” Bencic said. “For me this one suits the most. I really love dogs and I also have a dog from a dog shelter, actually. So that’s why I think this one is best for me, but I really like the whole idea of this initiative.”
Another activity saw Carlos Alcaraz, Pablo Carreno Busta, Paula Badosa and Ons Jabeur spend time at the Miami Rescue Mission to feed those in need of meals. Roberto Bautista Agut, Reilly Opelka and Samantha Stosur travelled to Liberty City to assist Health in the Hood by planting seeds in a vegetable garden, which will turn into produce that is distributed for free to those in need.
In the final event of the day, Diego Schwartzman, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alize Cornet and Karolina Pliskova took a trip to Miami Beach to clean up garbage. They even had a fun little competition among themselves to see who would pick up the most trash.
“Making every single day count,” Tsitsipas said. “[It is about] sustainability and trying to save our planet and make it a better place to live.”