2 Jan 2017

Savea vs Williams: Charity clash raises $65k for Kaikōura

5:18 am on 2 January 2017

Tennis fans were treated to a New Year's Day special today when All Blacks Julian and Ardie Savea took on Serena and Venus Williams in the name of charity.

All Black Ardie Savea and Venus Williams played a charity match with their siblings to raise money for the Kaikōura earthquake fund in Auckland.

All Black Ardie Savea and US tennis star Venus Williams played a charity match alongside their siblings today in Auckland. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Over $65,000 was raised for the Kaikōura earthquake response as the packed-out crowd at the ASB Tennis Arena watched two of the world's top rugby players attempt to play the world's best female tennis duo.

More than 2500 seats were sold for the exhibition match with the proceeds will go to the Kaikōura District Council.

RNZ's reporter at the scene, Matt Chatterton, said the brothers were hopelessly outmatched.

While the Williams sisters might not have been playing at full tilt, the Saveas still had to call on the help of Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki to make it even.

At one point, Julian Savea resorted to using a racquet three times the size of a normal one to return a shot.

All Blacks Julian Savea takes a selfie with Caroline Wozniacki, Venus and Serena Williams and his brother Ardie.

The group take a selfie after the charity clash. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Venus Williams said she was glad to support a great cause, and was complimentary of her All Black opponents.

"The guys' athleticism really shone through," Williams said. "It was a great show. I couldn't stop laughing myself."

It might not have been the best tennis fans will see in Auckland this week but the crowd appeared to enjoy the exhibition match on a fine summer day in the city.

Serena Williams, the current world number two, will be the top seed at next week's ASB Classic in Auckland, and will play Pauline Parmentier of France in the first round.

Her sister will play New Zealand national tennis champion Jade Lewis, and Wozniacki will face American Nicole Gibbs

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