British tennis player Andy Murray has won the 2022 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for donating his prize money to Ukraine.
Murray said that raising money for Ukrainian children during Russia’s ongoing invasion had given him “extra motivation” this season. The former world No.1 has donated £630,000 in total.
“Shortly after I decided that from Indian Wells onwards, I would donate my prize money for the rest of the season to UNICEF’s humanitarian response – the final total was just over £630,000,” Murray wrote in an essay for ATPTour.com on Thursday, Dec. 15.
“It seemed like something that would give me some extra motivation this year. I thought I could also raise some awareness and hopefully get others involved in helping, too.
“There are 7.5 million children in Ukraine and after more than nine months of increased conflict, 5.2 million of them are in need of assistance,” he continued. “UNICEF is working around the clock to keep children safe by ensuring child health and protection services are sustained, critical supplies are delivered to families and that children have clean water and nutritious food.
“When you see images of children on the news who were impacted by things like this, that makes it even more difficult to stomach. I have four young children who are really fortunate that everything is fine with them. But being a parent, it affects you differently.
"You try to put yourself in their shoes. If something like that happened with your own family, how difficult would that be? It is hard to fathom.
“I’m in the fortunate position to try to make some sort of difference, so hopefully the money that’s been raised through UNICEF can help some of the children who have been affected.
“I think in situations like these it is important to be empathetic and do what you can to help others. When I was younger, in my early 20s, I didn’t really think about anything else except my tennis. As you start to get older and maybe mature a little bit, you realise there are things that are more important than sport.”
Ukraine hasn’t been the sole focus of the Wimbledon champion’s philanthropy. In 2013, he helped stage the Rally Against Cancer at Queen’s Club after a close friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He then became a UNICEF UK Ambassador before winning the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for the first time in 2014.
“Around that time was when I saw the positive benefits to doing more charity work,” he wrote. “Because something happened to someone very close to me, I probably was more encouraged to do more of that as I got older.
"I saw a greater responsibility to speak out and do things when I had the opportunity. Maybe when I was first starting out on the Tour, I didn’t realise how important it was.
“I think that a lot of the young players who are coming through seem like good guys,” he added. “I’m sure they’re going to be great ambassadors for the sport moving forward. I’d encourage them to try and find some causes that are important to them and mean something to them and to try and give back when they get the chance.”
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