An emotional Serena Williams donated her US$43,000 winner’s cheque from the WTA Auckland Classic to the Australian bushfire relief fund on Sunday.

It was the 38-year-old Williams first tournament victory in three years, but she tempered celebrations by saying her thoughts were with Australia.

“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 and… animals and people that have lost their homes.

” In addition to donating her winner’s cheque, Williams has also signed the dress she wore in the first round in Auckland and put it up for auction to raise funds for the Australian appeal.

(AFP).