Serena Williams is not only a champion on the court, but she’s an icon in the philanthropic world as well.
The tennis legend broke her three-year title drought on Sunday (January 12), defeating fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-4 to win the singles final at the ASB Classic. And while that may be huge news, perhaps the biggest headline coming is how Williams is using her winnings from the match.
The 23-time major winner plans to donate her $43,000 victory check to the victims of Australian wildfires. She joins other stars of her sport, including Nick Kygrios, Ash Barty, Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova.
Serena Williams hadn’t won a title since the Australian Open singles in January 2017. The victory was before she became a mother to her daughter Olympia, who was court-side to watch Sunday’s final.
“It feels good. It’s been a long time,” Williams said after the match, according to USA Today. “I think you can see the relief on my face. I played an incredible opponent today in Jessica and, honestly, it was a great match and I couldn’t have played anyone better in the final.”
Over the past three years, Serena Williams has been juggling the enormous demands of elite-level championship tennis and her obligations of being a mother to a young daughter. It seemed though that Serena had been improving as of late, playing deep into Grand Slam tournaments, including making the finals at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.