Serena Williams Won Her First Major Tennis Title Since Becoming a Mom—and Donated the Prize to Australia
The athlete recently shared how "heartbroken" she feels about the devastating wildfires in Australia.
It's been three years since Serena Williams earned her last major tennis title. It was 2017, and she was pregnant with her now-2-year-old daughter, Alexis Olympia, though she hadn't yet announced her pregnancy to the world. (ICYMI, Serena Williams' maternity leave sparked a major change in women's tennis tournaments.)
Now, just a few weeks after being named athlete of the decade, Williams brought home her first singles title since becoming a mom. She defeated fellow American tennis player, Jessica Pegula at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.
In a video of Williams' winning moment, the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion can be seen thrusting her arms into the air in celebration following the heated match while the crowd cheered her on. "It feels good!" she told reporters of her victory, according to CNN. "It's been a long time. I think you could see the relief on my face. 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 toward the next goal."
But Williams managed to make her 73rd singles title even more special: Shortly after the match ended, she announced that she will donate her winnings ($43,000), as well as auction money made from her match-worn dresses, to the Australian bushfire relief cause.
"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," said Williams. "So much has happened, so I decided at the beginning of the tournament, every match I played, I'd donate a dress and I'd also donate all my prize money for a great cause. Thank you, guys." (Related: Watch Serena Williams Crush Her Boxing Lesson with Mike Tyson)
The next challenge for Williams? She'll be playing at the Australian Open later this month, where she could potentially win her 24th Grand Slam singles title (NBD).
But before the tournament, she'll play alongside tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open Rally for Relief, a charity match that will donate all ticket sales to wildfire relief efforts.
Feeling inspired by Williams' contributions to Australia? Here's how you can donate to Australian wildfire relief efforts by participating in a virtual 5K.