serena williams wins auckland classic 2020

Serena Williams Wins The Auckland Classic After 3 Years Without Title

Serena Williams is the latest among the series of tennis superstars who give to the Australian bushfires relief effort. That’s after winning the Auckland Classic on Sunday, January 12.

She had a two-set (6-3, 6-4) victory against the unseeded Jessica Pegula. Pegula has one title under her name.

Williams donated €38,600 to the relief efforts. 

Heating up the Australian Open expectations

The Auckland Classic is Williams’ 73rd title from the WTA, and her first WTA title since 2017. The Auckland Classic title was also her first after becoming a mom to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

Interestingly, Williams won the Australian Open in 2017 while pregnant with her.

What’s more interesting about these facts and records is: Williams won her first WTA title in 1999. She’s been playing tennis for four decades!

She turned pro in October 1995.

Her Auckland Classic win only proved that Williams is still on top of her game. She acknowledged her game is sharpening as she heads to Melbourne.

Hopes are high for Williams’ fans as expectations are raised for this year’s Australian Open.

If she wins the title, she would equal Margaret Court’s Grand Slam title records to 24.

Not to mention, Williams had won several Australian Open titles in both singles and doubles. She has seven singles titles and four doubles titles. She also appeared in the finals of the 1999 mixed doubles. 

Australia as her second home for 20 years

Seeing the devastation firsthand, Williams had been deeply affected by the ongoing bushfires in the South. 

“I’ve been playing in Australia for over 20 years, and it’s been really hard for me to watch all the news and everything that has been happening in Australia with all the fire,” Williams said.

She was already decided to give the money to the relief appeal even before the tournament started.

Other tennis players including Novak Djokovic, Rodger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, Maria Sharapova, and Simona Halep have also shared their blessings, pledging personal donations. 

Some players followed through Kyrgios lead in dedicating their aces to the bushfire relief campaign.

The International Tennis Federation, Wimbledon, French Open, and ATP have donated €806,000.

Indeed, the international tennis community is doing everything it could to extend help to the home of the first Grand Slam tournament.

More updates on the Australian Open

Poor air quality in Melbourne is making practising difficult the ongoing bushfires have caused.

Qualifying rounds were also delayed for about an hour for the same reason.

At least six players were scheduled to play on Melbourne Park at 11 am on January 14. However, the Air Quality Index was at 229, which is categorised as “very unhealthy.”

According to its organisers, the conditions are continuously monitored. They expect improvements in the coming days.

Ongoing consultations with the representatives of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria, the Bureau of Meteorology, and medical teams are conducted.

The organisers said, “As always the health and safety of our players, our staff and our fans is our priority.”

The Australian Open is scheduled to start on January 20.

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Do you think Serena Williams would bag the Australian Open title as well? Let us know your thoughts.

australia bushfire relief effort tennis players

Australia Bushfire Appeal: When Tennis Stars Come Together

To kickoff tennis this 2020, the Australian Open is scheduled to begin on January 20 in Melbourne Park.

If not for the widespread bushfires in Australia that are currently raging the southeast, devastating homes, livelihood, forests, and wildlife.

Other than the concerns on the safety of the organizers, officials, players, and fans, the tennis players themselves have shown concerns about Australia and its people and wildlife.

Australia bushfire relief initiatives

Understanding the gravity of the situation, the tennis players themselves initiated a rallying cry for support.

Nick Kyrgios broke down during one of his interviews after an ATP Cup win. He revealed his difficulty focusing on his play, knowing that Australia and specifically, Canberra, his hometown, are being devastated by the bushfires.

Kyrgios said, “I’m glad the tennis world has taken the initiative, and hopefully, we can do whatever we can.”

  • Kyrgios started fundraising that reached to $700,000; he pledged $140 for every ace he hits for a total of $2,775
  • Following Kyrgios, other players also donated their aces: Alex de Minaur ($175), John Millman ($70), and Samantha Stosur ($140)
  • Following the tweets, Simona Halep did not commit her aces admitting she doesn’t hit several aces but instead will donate $200 each time she gave her coach a hard time in the box during all her matches in Australia
  • Kyrgios also tweeted Tennis Australia urging the organization to schedule an exhibition match
  • Tennis Australia pledged $700,000 to repair the damaged tennis facilities
  • The organization plans to donate $70 for each ace hit during the ATP Cup expected to be at $105,000 (the target is $150,000 with at least 1,500 aces)
  • Ashleigh Barty donated her Brisbane International winnings (which could be up to $265,000) to the relief efforts spearheaded by the Australian Red Cross
  • Barty also donated $20,850 in December 2019 to support the bushfire-affected wildlife
  • Maria Sharapova donated $17,400 while Novak Djokovic matched her financial support
  • Karolina Pliskova will also give $200 for every ace she hits while playing in Australia
  • WTA will donate $70 for each ace served at the Brisbane International, ASB Classic, Adelaide International, and Hobart International; the current tally of aces is 700

Exhibition match at Melbourne 

Tennis Australia is holding an exhibition match called Rally for Relief at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne Park. The match is a part of the Aces for Bushfire Relief program that the organization launched in the first week of January.

The match will happen on January 15, 6:30 pm. Tickets are already available at ticketmaster.com.au.  

It will feature Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal (although this detail is yet to be confirmed by the organization).

For the WTA, in an effort to help Tennis Australia, signed items will be auctioned off during the match.

Raising awareness and offering support through various fundraising opportunities are happening on social media. Hashtags #WTA4Love and #Aces4BushfireRelief were used.WTA players are directly asking fans to direct their donations to the Australian Red Cross at www.redcross.org.au/tennis.

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In an effort to help the Australian bushfire relief efforts, please head to www.redcross.org.au/tennis. Let’s ace this!

charitable tennis legends novak djokovic

3 Tennis Legends and Their Charitable Endeavours

Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.

This rings true for these tennis legends: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and of course, Novak Djokovic. All of them exemplify how a true legend should continue to positively affect the people especially their home country.

They earn millions of dollars and put them to good use through different charitable undertakings.

The three tennis legends, contributed significantly to various causes.

1) Roger Federer

Federer has his own foundation named after him. The Roger Federer Foundation provides for children’s education, particularly those in Switzerland and across Africa. The foundation wants every child to be educated regardless of their social status or financial background.

Federer started his foundation back in 2003 when he was just 22 years old. As of 2017, the foundation has already spent €26 million ($28.8 million) in financial aid. 

Throughout the years, Federer has also formed partnerships to raise funds for the activities of his foundation. He already worked with Nadal, John Isner, and even Bill Gates.

2) Rafael Nadal

Same with Federer, Nadal also has his own foundation called Rafa Nadal Foundation (Fundación Rafa Nadal). The foundation also targets children, assisting and helping them achieve their dreams regardless of their financial capacities. It also aims to free them from social stigma.

Rafa Nadal Foundation has already established 21 centres across Spain and India. It has more than 900 direct beneficiaries and over 5,000 children taken care of. 

3) Novak Djokovic

Like Federer and Nadal, the world’s current No. 1 also has his own foundation known as Novak Djokovic Foundation (NDF). His foundation, which he co-founded with his wife Jelena, aims to uphold equality for children in Serbia.

His foundation has already built 43 schools to date and supported almost 20,800 children and a thousand families. 

Focusing on Novak

Novak has earned millions of dollars from playing tennis; he earned more money compared with other players. He is currently one of the highest-paid male tennis players with more than $134 million prize earnings. In 2019 alone, Novak made $9.1 million in prize earnings.

Further along, Novak earns more through endorsements of well-known brands. His endorsement earnings in 2019 are estimated at $40 million.

He may live the most luxurious lifestyle with homes in Monte Carlo as well as Miami and New York, travelling in style, and high-end cars, but he is very active in charitable works.

It was clear for Novak and Jelena that they wanted to improve early-childhood education in his native home, Serbia. They want to ensure that the children are getting high-quality preschool education. 

In an open letter, he mentioned, “I grew up in a country historically torn by different conflicts, but nevertheless, a country where children still dream big. Let us believe in their dreams.”

Nonetheless, they also provide for various causes more so when it involves his beloved people.

In 2014, Novak donated $750,000, his Italian Open prize earnings, to relief operations for the victims of flood in Serbia. In 2018 Season of Giving campaign, the foundation matched a $100,000 donation.

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