Tennis star Nick Kyrgios criticizes Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for 'slow' wildfires response

Wildfires raking Australia's New South Wales may have killed millions of animals. Video from rural Batlow shows animals that died trying to escape the flames.

Posted: Jan 8, 2020 6:54 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2020 7:30 AM


Tennis star Nick Kyrgios has said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was 'far too slow' reacting to the wildfires devastating large parts of the country and has described addressing the climate crisis as an 'urgent' matter.

A leading voice in his sport's drive to help raise money for relief efforts, Kyrgios last week pledged to donate $140 ($200 AUSD) for every ace he hits at upcoming tournaments -- a deed which has sparked similar gestures from fellow players and tournament organizers in the country.

Writing in AthletesVoice, the world No. 29 said: 'As the leader of our country, I don't think Scott Morrison has done enough to be honest.

'At the very least, he was far too slow to act, while people were losing their lives and families were losing their homes. There is nothing worse than that.

'Right now, nothing is more important than helping these people and putting the fires out. So, if I could say anything to our politicians it's imagine you're in the same position as these people who have been impacted.'

At least 27 people have died nationwide during this fire season. Nearly 18 million acres of land has been burned -- most of it bushland, forests and national parks, which are home to the country's native wildlife.

Kyrgios, 24, hails from the nation's capital Canberra, a city where the air quality was among the worst in the world earlier this week. While the fires have touched every state in Australia, New South Wales has been the hardest hit.

'For now, politics shouldn't matter. We are where we are, and we've just got to get in and help. But for the future, after this emergency situation eases a little, I think we need to make some changes,' Kyrgios continued.

'I think a lot about climate change and the impact that it's having on the environment. The time will come when our leaders will need to sit down and figure out what we can do to protect our environment. It's urgent that we find a solution.'

Morrison has faced heavy criticism for his climate policies and response to the wildfires as well growing anger and frustration from the public as the fires continue to spiral out of control.

The media team of the Australian PM and Cabinet didn't immediately respond to CNN's request for comment regarding Kyrgios' comments.

'Putting it all on the line'

Better known by some for his on-court misdemeanors than title wins, Kyrgios is currently competing in the ATP Cup and has helped Australia reach the semifinals of the inaugural tournament. He had to fight back the tears earlier on in the event when asked during an on-court interview about the bushfires.

Kyrgios will join Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Melbourne next week for the fundraising exhibition match, Australian Open Rally for Relief.

Though regretting not 'doing something sooner,' Kyrgios said he was now intent on using his platform to make a difference.

'These fires have been burning since September and I was seeing people being affected by this disaster every day, feeling helpless,' he said.

'I realize now that I'm blessed to have the platform that I do, so I can help make a difference because there are many things that are more important than sport. That's what I choose to focus on.

'My biggest inspiration this summer is our firefighters. They're the most important people we have on our side right now. They put my job as a tennis player into perspective, that's for sure.

'Seeing what they have to deal with out there, I don't think our firefighters will ever receive enough praise. They're putting it all on the line for every Australian, for our country and for our animals. There's no greater example of selflessness than that.'

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 132412

Reported Deaths: 1799
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
Lane8219108
Jackson686284
Umatilla670968
Deschutes490736
Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
Klamath242238
Polk241340
Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
Hood River94821
Coos93315
Morrow92710
Clatsop6695
Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
Fresno79950932
Alameda65679757
Ventura59061412
San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
Amador295329
Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8472
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3434
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
Medford
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 42°
Brookings
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 62°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 42°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 42°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 37°
Clearing tonight, brighter tomorrow
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

A block 12/24 part two

Image

Medford School District Plans for the Future of the COVID-19 Vaccine

Image

Astronomers discover "Super Earth"

Image

Super Planet discovered in Milkway Galaxy

Image

OREGON REPORTS LARGE AMOUNT OF NEW CASES 1/16/21

Image

Oregon reports 41 new deaths, 1,173 cases, only 1 death away from 1,800 deaths

Image

5 SHOW

Image

GOV BROWN UPSET CLIP

Image

Saturday, January 16 evening weather

Image

MIDDAY 12/24/20