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Barty pledges tournament winnings to bushfire appeal

Ipswich tennis ace and world No.1 Ashleigh Barty has reaffirmed she has a heart of gold, pledging to donate any winnings from the Brisbane International to the Red Cross Fire Appeal.

The Brisbane International is Barty’s first tournament for 2020 and if she wins, she will collect $382,000 in prize money.

The top seed made the pledge to donate any winnings to aid bushfire victims on Sunday.

It is not the first time Barty has dug deep to help where she can. Late last year, Barty donated $30,000 to the RSPCA to help wildlife affected by the fires.

“Wildlife has been lost but it has also affected lives and homes so I have been sitting down and thinking with my team and family on ways we can help,” she said.

“There have been really great initiatives from crickets, tennis players, golfers, soccer players all over the country trying to help out.

“We have come to the decision any of my prize money here in Brisbane will be donated to the (Australian) Red Cross to go towards the families and homes affected.”

Barty is one of a string of tennis stars, many of whom are beginning the year in Australia ahead of the Australian Open, to pledge support for those impacted by bushfires.

Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic, Nick Kyrgios and Samantha Stosur are among others to pledge donations.

It is shaping up to be a big year for Barty who having won last year’s French Open and securing world No-1 status starts the new season firmly as the competitor everyone wants to beat.

Earlier this month on her arrival in Brisbane, German former world No.1 Angelique Kerber told media Barty would start the season with “all the pressure, all the expectation, especially here in Australia”.

While others may expect Barty to feel the pressure, it’s not her focus.

“No pressure at all. Yes, for myself and my team we’ve had some incredible results but we’ve worked damn hard to get those results and it’s been a reward for all of us, and like I’ve said there’s still a few things we’d like to tick of and it’s about setting goals for 2020,” she told media during a visit in December to an RSPCA animal hospital.

“I get so much crowd support, I’m so lucky to get so much support from people all around the nation and I can’t wait to get out there and do the best I can.”

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