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Daniell aces prestigious ATP award

Marcus Daniell, left, and doubles partner Michael Venus with their Olympic bronze medals. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES


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Wairarapa tennis star Marcus Daniell won a major award at the 2021 ATP [Association of Tennis Professionals] Awards.

On Tuesday, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award.

He joins an illustrious list of recipients, including Ashe, late South African President Nelson Mandela, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.

The award, first given by the ATP in 1983 to John McEnroe, honours a person, not necessarily an ATP player, for their humanitarian efforts.

In an essay he wrote for the ATPTour.com website, Daniell said he was blown away when told about the award.

“It is incredibly humbling to look down the list of previous recipients and see who has received this honour,” said Daniell, “their many accomplishments both on and off the court are staggering.”

Daniell, 32, received the prestigious award for his work with High Impact Athletes [HIA], an organisation he founded in November 2020 for professional sportspeople to support the world’s most cost-effective and impactful charities.

“We should think extremely carefully about where we donate to because some charities can be literally 1000 times more impactful than others.

“The idea is to get as many people in professional sports, and the world, on board as possible and use our platform to spread the message that where you give matters immensely.”

This is done by athletes committing to donating a percentage of their income to the organisation.

HIA has dozens of donors, pledgers, and ambassadors, from world heavyweight boxing champs, Olympic figure skaters, and race walkers to tennis players.

The world number 51 doubles player’s interest in philanthropy began in 2015, the first year he focused on doubles, and the first year he made money playing tennis. Daniell had some savings in the bank and wanted to donate to some worthy causes but didn’t know how. That’s when he discovered the effective altruism movement.

“One of the ways effective altruism taught me how I could make a positive impact in the world was by earning to give. Essentially, the more money I earned playing tennis, the more I could give away to people who needed it 50,000 times more than I do.”

In 2016 Daniell pledged one per cent of his annual income to charity, and each year since, he has increased his pledge, and is now committed to donating at least 10 per cent of his earnings.

“I take deep pleasure in knowing that every success I have in my working life will ultimately end up changing or even saving lives.”

“It added a whole extra world of meaning to my tennis life. You always want to win more matches, but with this pledge I now wanted to win more matches, not only for personal progress, but also because I knew that with every extra win, I would be helping the world more. “

Although winning the Olympic bronze medal in the men’s doubles with Michael Venus is Daniell’s biggest victory, he said these days there is far more to him in life than just winning and losing.

“Last year, when the tour paused for covid-19, I had more time to think than I’d ever had.

“That led to the realisation that I could be a better advocate, and I thought that the best way to do so would be to start an organisation that could help educate others and bring them along on the journey of giving effectively.”

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