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Rafael Nadal headlines U.S. Open fundraiser for Ukraine

8/10/2022 3:15:27 PM EST

Rafael Nadal will headline an exhibition tennis event to benefit Ukraine days before the U.S. Open.

The "Tennis Plays for Peace Exhibition" will be held Aug. 24, which is Ukraine Independence Day, in New York.

The USTA announced Wednesday that Nadal will join fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, tennis legend John McEnroe, Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, Italian Matteo Berrettini and Taylor Fritz on the men's side.

Women's No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland will be joined by Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula, Victoria Azarenka and Canadian Leylah Fernandez, the runner-up at the U.S. Open last year.

Azarenka declined an interview request from The New York Times about her participation. Her country, Belarus, has supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Nadal's commitment likely signals he intends to play in the tournament. He pulled out of this week's event in Montreal, citing his continued recovery from an abdominal injury that forced him to withdraw from the Wimbledon semifinals.

The players will take part in a series of singles and mixed doubles matches at Louis Armstrong Stadium in the evening of Aug. 24.

Tennis Plays for Peace, which was formed by tennis' governing bodies and the Grand Slam events, has raised more than $1 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine so far. The USTA said it expects to bring in at least $2 million more during the U.S. Open.

"The U.S. Open is a stage that attracts millions of passionate fans, and it is incumbent upon us to help guide this passion to help those who desperately need it," said Mike McNulty, USTA president and chairman of the board. "This is a vitally important cause, and I'm proud of the way in which our sport has rallied together to lend a much-needed hand to our friends in Ukraine. I'm likewise proud that we are able to use the global platform of the U.S. Open to enhance the giving effort."

The U.S. Open main draw begins Aug. 29.

--Field Level Media

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