Serena Williams is a champion once again! The 38-year-old won her very first tennis title since becoming a mother.
On Sunday, Serena took home the glory at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. She beat out fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-4. Serena last won a title while she was pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia in January 2017.
Serena’s daughter is 3 years old. She joined mom on the court to celebrate the victory. Serena proudly held her trophy in one hand while holding Olympia in the other. It was a relief for the tennis star, who had 23 major wins in her illustrious career.
Despite getting to the final round in several tournaments since coming back to the sport, it wasn’t until now that she got to enjoy another victory.
In true championship form, Serena announced she would donate the prize money from the match. The $43,000 will go to Australian bushfire relief. Serena is also joining other tennis stars in a benefit match to raise money for relief.
Serena Williams is celebrating a very special victory. The 38-year-old tennis superstar has won her first title since becoming a mother in 2017. Serena won the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, and she emotionally celebrated after scoring the final point.
Serena beat fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-4. Her last win was in January 2017, when she won the Australian Open singles tournament. She was pregnant at the time, and she welcomed daughter Alexis Olympia that September.
The crowd went wild on Sunday upon Serena’s victory. She lifted her hands in the air to celebrate the long-awaited victory. Although Serena has gotten close on several occasions to a win, it was clear it felt good to finally be back in the No. 1 spot.
After a little bit of the excitement wound down, Serena was joined on the court by Olympia. She held the trophy in one hand while cradling her daughter in the other. The moment is one that the all-star athlete likely won’t forget.
“Oh, it feels good!” Serena later told reporters, 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 towards the next goal.”
It’s been frustrating for Serena to struggle so much in recent years. What’s gotten her through is a renewed belief in herself. “You have to be your biggest cheerleader, especially if you’re feeling you’re not doing everything right — or even if you are doing everything right but things aren’t working out for you,” Serena noted.
The event also saw Serena advance to the doubles finals with pal Caroline Wozniacki. Sadly, the ladies didn’t make it to a win. It was a bittersweet end for Caroline, who will retire after the Australian Open later this month.
After the match, Serena announced she would be donating her prize money. She donated the $43,000 prize to Australian bushfire relief. The announcement came just days after Serena revealed she would participate in a charity tennis match.
“I am heartbroken over the devastation of the wildfires in Australia,” the tennis star shared on Instagram.
“With the loss of over 500 million animals and many people left without their homes, we need to act now to help in whatever way we can. I have been going to Australia for over 20 years so this devastation is hitting me particularly hard.”
She encouraged others to donate. For her part, Serena will join Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and more in a charity match benefiting Australian bushfire relief at the Australian Open. The games will take place on January 15 at Melbourne Park’s Rod Laver Arena.
“This unprecedented bushfire crisis is devastating people, properties, communities, livestock and animals across the country and our hearts go out to all those affected,” Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.
“We felt it was vital we use all our events across the summer to make a meaningful contribution to help these people and communities rebuild their lives. The response from the tennis community – our players, clubs, partners and international tennis bodies – has been overwhelming and it’s wonderful to see everyone pull together.”
The idea came from tennis star Nick Kyrgios, who tweeted to get the idea going. “C’mon @TennisAustralia surely we can do a pre @AustralianOpen exho to raise funds for those affected by the fires?” he asked. It wasn’t long before the event was getting big names to sign on.
Aside from the charity match, Serena has a lot going on in the Australian Open. She’s chasing the chance for her 24th title at the match. That means a lot of training between now and then. Of her recent win in relation to what’s next, Serena noted, “It’s just a step towards the next goal.”
Whatever’s next for Serena, one thing is certain. She has a whole family rooting for her every step of the way. With all that support behind her, coupled with her natural determination, there’s no telling what she can accomplish next.