Serena Williams donated her $43,000 prize money cheque of Auckland Classic to the Australian bushfire relief fund. Besides that, she also signed the dress she wore in the first round of the WTA tournament in Auckland and put it up for auction to raise further funds for the relief efforts.
Serena on Sunday finally broke her trophy drought by defeating fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Auckland Classic on Sunday. It was her first title since Australian Open 2017.
With the victory, the 38-year-old claimed her 73rd Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title after losing five finals in the last three years following her 23rd Grand Slam victory in Melbourne in 2017.
Later on the day, she lost in the final of Women’s doubles with Caroline Wozniacki. They were defeated by the American duo of Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend.
Meanwhile, the former world number one Serena became the latest athlete to pledge donations for the bushfire relief efforts in Australia as she prepares to visit the country to take part in the Australian Open, to be played from January 2020.
Wildfires have raged across Australia for months, causing huge loss to life and property and burning about 18 million hectares (69,500 square miles) of bushland. The fires have killed 27 people and an estimated 500 million animals and destroyed more than 1000 homes.
The event is a part of Aces for Bushfire Relief program where $A100 are being donated by Tennis Australia for every ace served in the ongoing ATP cup in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.
Earlier, Tennis stars Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic also pledged donations to the bushfire relief fund. Both players donated $A25,000 each.