Tennis Australia and FightMND are delighted to announce their existing charity partnership will continue into its fourth year throughout the summer of tennis, including Australian Open 2019.
The devastating impact of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) on patients and families has been felt by many in the tennis community, including former Australian players and Davis Cup representatives Brad Drewett, and Peter Doohan, who succumbed to the disease in 2013 and 2017 respectively.
Angie Cunningham, a Tasmanian-born former outstanding junior player and tour professional, also lost the battle against the disease in 2016.
Following their playing careers, both Cunningham and Drewett filled influential roles in international tennis administration with the WTA and ATP tours respectively and were both respected and revered figures among current and past players from around the world.
FightMND CEO Jamie Howden said this partnership was an important one for the Foundation.
“Our foundation has a strong personal connection with tennis and Tennis Australia with our co-founder and Board Member, Pat Cunningham sadly losing his wife Angie to MND just over two years ago, so it is a significant relationship for us and one we are excited about building on for years to come.
“FightMND’s purpose is to create greater awareness of the horrible disease that affects thousands of Australians each year, but equally as important is to raise vital funds to commit to research into finding a cure for MND, for which at the present time doesn’t exist, and the partnership enables us to do this on a large scale so we are extremely grateful.
“I thank Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley and his large team for their unconditional and committed support in welcoming FightMND as a charity partner of the AO Series and allowing us to sell our FightMND visors around the venue on Day 1 of the Open and at other AO Series events prior,” Howden added.
“I also want to acknowledge the wonderful support of the Tennis Australia’s broadcast partner, the Nine Network, for their incredible support and for airing an emotive commercial throughout the entire summer featuring several of the world’s best players, past and present, who have lent their support to the campaign.”
Tennis Australia is also excited about the partnership and helping FightMND to “smash” MND.
“We are very pleased to again be partnering with FightMND and supporting this worthy cause,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.
“We’ve lost too many members of the tennis family to this cruel and terrible disease that as yet has no treatment or cure. Through the sale of visors on day one of the Australian Open, and with Nine through the broadcast, we hope to raise both awareness and funds to help in the fight against MND,” Tiley continued.
FightMND will have volunteers selling visors around Melbourne Park on Day 1 of the 2019 Australian Open for just $20 with all proceeds of sales going direct to fund more research and drug trials into finding a treatment and cure for MND.