Athletes can look like superheroes on the court, and off court, they can act like superheroes too! While kicking off the tournament at the new Hard Rock Stadium venue, the Miami Open joined forces with the ATP and WTA for a day of philanthropy and fun! For this month’s Thankful Thursday spotlight, we’re shining a light onto the wonderful work the players and tournament have done with their charitable initiative.
Giving back to the South Florida community, players spent the day helping the Humane Society of Greater Miami, the Baptist Children’s Hospital, the Miami Rescue Mission, Rebuilding Together, and the UNICEF Kids Power Program. The Kid Power Program focuses on overcoming adversity, exploring the power within, and being present in one’s community. The students, many of whom are from disadvantaged neighborhoods, as well as survivors from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, sat down for an intimate Q&A with some of tennis’ biggest stars.
“I’ve done this appearance with the kids from UNICEF and from local communities with five other players. We were trying to just share our stories, talk a little bit about our background. Our beginnings, what we went through, what obstacles we had, and just to share a little of our story and to try to inspire them.” Marin Cilic told Outside the Ball host Mayleen Ramey. Petra Kvitova also described her experience with us. “Facing those beautiful kids who really try to do something really good in the world. It’s such a nice (thing) to be with those other top players as well and it was nice to hear those stories as well and see the look on the kids’ faces when they’re listening. Hopefully we can help someone to kind of work hard for their dreams.”
Petra Kvitova was the only WTA star at the UNICEF gathering, and that alone was an interesting experience. “Yeah I’ve just been one girl with five guys, which was a bit weird for me. I’m a shy person!” On social media, Petra tweeted out a video of the players dancing along with the kids. “Everyone was just dancing, like the kids, we were sitting on the chair trying to dance. I’m not really a dancer so I was just laughing.” Kvitova described with a smile.
“I believe that if we inspire them enough, they will push themselves a little bit more and fulfill themselves even higher. We hope we’ve done a good deed and they’ll hopefully remembering this day and it’s going to help them long term.” Marin Cilic concluded. Through initiatives like Miami Open Unites, players are about to giveback to the communities that have welcomed them, and the players gain so much in return. For more information, visit MiamiOpen.com