Included among the list of household names appearing is the 39-year-old American James Blake, who retired from professional tennis in 2013.
“Tennis players have always been great with helping out others in need and so when a tennis player asks for a favor I’m happy to help,” Blake, the former world No.4, told CNN World Sport’s Don Riddell. “So I’m going to Nassau. We are going to have a clinic with some of the kids in the area, play an exhibition and hopefully I can still hit the ball around.”
“I saw the damage,” Blake said. “The destruction was so sad to see, to see an island basically decimated. Nassau, from what I heard, was not hit so I’ll get to see that. It’s a beautiful tourist destination so I’m going to that part and see some of the places that weren’t hit.”
Blake continued: “From what I hear, the rebuilding process is extremely difficult and probably going to be extensive and very long. We want to do what we can. I know it’s a drop in the bucket what we’re doing. We’re using what we have and abilities we have. Start where you are and do what you can. This is what I can do to help.”
Add some spark
“Yeah, that is a little bit of mixed emotion,” he said. “But I think this is the best thing we can do to make a difference. Hopefully we can have some of those people who were displaced, they can be there and have some fun as well. I have a feeling that for the last month or two their life has been anything but fun. If we can add a little bit of a spark to them.”
“One thing that made a difference when I had hard times was someone trying to get me out of bed, someone trying to get me to have fun, someone trying to get me to smile,” Blake said. “We are trying to put a smile on anyone’s face in that area. We know Nassau wasn’t hit but a lot of people were displaced to there so hopefully we can get a lot of those people and put a smile on their face.”