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Serena Williams Wins First Title in 3 Years, Donates Cash Prize to Australia Wildfire Relief

Serena Williams of USA celebrates with the trophy after winning the final match against Jessica Pegula of USA at ASB Tennis Centre on Jan. 12, 2020, in Auckland, New Zealand
Serena Williams of USA celebrates with the trophy after winning the final match against Jessica Pegula of USA at ASB Tennis Centre on Jan. 12, 2020, in Auckland, New Zealand
Photo: Hannah Peters (Getty Images)

Now, this is why she’s the G.O.A.T.

With her first big win in three years, Serena Williams is paying it forward in grand slam style.

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The tennis icon announced she would donate 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.”

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The catastrophic 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 beat fellow American Jessica Pegula, 6-3, 6-4 to win the trophy, which came with a cash price equivalent to $43,000 US.

Her latest win comes one week ahead of the start of the Australian Open, where she has won seven of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

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It was her 73rd career title and first since returning to the tour after becoming a mother to two-year-old Olympia, who was there to watch her mom play.

Williams has now won a title in the 1990s, the 2000s, the 2010s, and the 2020s.

The Compton native won her first Women’s Tennis Association title in February 1999.

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That span surpasses Martina Navratilova’s, which had long been the benchmark for enduring excellence in women’s tennis.

Williams’ donation joins a growing list of celebrity notables — such as Ellen DeGeneres, Pink, Chris Hemsworth, Nicole Kidman, Elton John, Lizzo, Kylie Jenner and Shawn Mendes — who have pitched in to help Australia.

Hailing from "the thorough borough" of Brooklyn, Mr. Daniels has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Essence, VIBE, NBC News, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News and Word Up!

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DISCUSSION

I can’t believe she’s 38! G.O.A.T.

I’m old...