Fans and stars unite for tsunami relief
from New Zealand Herald by Julie Middleton
Tennis fans are far too polite to shriek when a star arrives among them.
But former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, of Spain, still got the attention he was looking for as he trawled the Heineken Open crowd in Auckland yesterday, collecting money for tsunami victims.
Spectators in the centre court's sun-scorched Yock Stand (tickets $36 yesterday) politely gathered around Ferrero, 24, as he moved swiftly through them with a yellow bucket.
Looking a bit overwhelmed, he seemed unsure where to put his eyes as spectators crowded around.
Fenny Strickett wasn't going to miss her chance to get up close. After depositing her $10, she reached out and shook Ferrero's hand, waving her arms in gleeful triumph as she returned to her place. (lucky lady
"You don't often see the players in real life," said Mrs Strickett.
The collection was for the United Nations Children's Fund, which had been negotiating with the Association of Tennis Professionals for its stars to become "goodwill ambassadors" when the tsunami struck.
Defending Open champ Dominik Hrbaty (Slovak Republic) and rising star Rafael Nadal (Spain) were among those who collected.
Unicef NZ executive director Dennis McKinlay said linking up with sports stars helped emphasise the agency's belief that sport was an important part of rebuilding self-esteem in traumatised children.