AAP Tennis

Alexander Zverev in bushfire fund pledge

By AAP Newswire

Alexander Zverev reached the second round of the Australian Open and promptly pledged to donate his prize money to the bushfire appeal if he lands his maiden grand slam.

The 22-year-old seventh seeded German progressed after a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 victory over Marco Cecchinato.

Zverev has not been in the best of form, however, so his further pledge of $10,000 for every match he wins in the tournament might work out to be a more realistic donation.

The German conceded that he was not the favourite to raise the trophy on February 2 but, if he did, the A$4.12 million first prize would be by far the largest individual donation to the Aces for Bushfires appeal.

"Obviously I'm more fortunate than maybe other people are. Every cent can help the Australian people, the Australian animals, the Australian nature in general," he said.

"If I win the Australian Open, I will be the happiest person on the planet. I think that the (money) will be in much better use in the hands that know what to do with it, and know how to help others."

Zverev made heavy work at times of his first-round victory over world No.77 Cecchinato but was just pleased to be back in the winners' circle after losing his first three matches of the season at the ATP Cup.

"I didn't play well at the ATP Cup," he said. "Everybody saw that. I was struggling a lot with my serve, I was struggling a lot with my groundstrokes. I think I was much more stable than I was there.

"This is a positive for me. Obviously there's a lot still to build. I think this is already getting better. So hopefully I can still get better in the next few days, maybe weeks."