Serena Williams won the Auckland Open title – her first big win in three years since becoming a mom.
“It’s pretty satisfying just to get a win in the final. That was really important for me and I just want to build on it. It’s just a step towards the next goal.”
The US tennis icon says she is donating her winnings from her Sunday ASB Classic match in Auckland, New Zealand to Australian wildfire relief efforts.
“I’ve been playing Australia for over 20 years and it’s been really hard for me to watch all the news and everything that’s been happening in Australia with all the fires and over a billion animals and people who have lost their homes,” Williams said. “So I decided that I would donate all my prize money for a great cause.”
The unfortunate wildfires have claimed the lives of at least 25 people and almost half a billion mammals, birds and reptiles since September.
The 38-year-old Champion won the trophy, which came with a cash prize equivalent to $43,000 after beating fellow American Jessica Pegula, 6-3, 6-4.
It was her 73rd career title and first since returning to the tour after becoming a mother to two-year-old Olympia.
The Compton native won her first Women’s Tennis Association title in February 1999 and has won titles across four decades.
Her latest victory in New Zealand has earned her tributes from many quarters including the United States President Donald Trump. “Congratulations to Serena Williams on another big win,” the president tweeted, adding that: “She is a great player and an even greater person.”