Serena Williams will donate prize money to Australian bushfire relief, after 3 years drought

As the calendar turned to 2020, Serena Williams hadn’t won a tennis tournament in three years.

Her last win came at the 2017 Australian Open, where she beat her older sister Venus in the final while Serena was pregnant with her daughter Olympia.

Three years later, the drought is over.

The 38-year-old Williams beat fellow American Jessica Pegula, 6-3, 6-4 to win the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand with 2-year-old Olympia watching her mother play.

It was Serena’s 73rd career title and first since returning to the tour after becoming a mother.

“It’s feels good, it’s been a long time,” Serena said with a laugh.

She announced she would donate her winnings of $43,000 American dollars to Australian bushfire relief.

“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 win comes one week ahead of the start of the Australian Open, where Serena has won seven of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles. She remains one shy of tying Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24. Williams has lost her last three Grand Slam finals, including the 2019 U.S. Open, where she lost to Canadian Bianca Andreescu in the final. Andreescu withdrew from this year’s Australian Open with a knee injury.

Williams has now won a title in each of the last four decades. She won her first WTA title in February 1999.

She also finished runner-up in doubles with Caroline Wozniacki in the Dane’s penultimate tournament. Wozniacki, Serena’s close friend, will retire after the Australian Open.

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