Tennis: Serena Williams auctions clothes for Haiti victims
By TANALEE SMITH
Associated Press Writer
MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams has turned her punishment into a charitable opportunity by launching an online auction of her personal clothing and memorabilia in order to raise $92,000 for Haiti earthquake victims, as well as schools and charities.
The target equals Williams total fine for her profanity-laced outburst at a lineswoman during her semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters at the U.S. Open in September.
“The purpose of the mission is to turn a negative into a positive by educating and helping women, men and children so that they have a fighting chance,” Williams writes on the Web site of her charity, the Serena Williams Foundation.
Williams’ eBay auction began Monday with items including an autographed pair of sneakers that she wore in her championship run at the Australian Open last year, her 2008 Olympic team dress and a Phoenix Suns jersey signed by Steve Nash.
She announced the auction in December, shortly after she was fined a record $82,500 by the Grand Slam tournament for her profanity-laced outburst at a lineswoman during her semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters at the U.S. Open in September. She also paid a $10,000 penalty to the U.S. Tennis Association.
Williams said the idea for the auction came after the International Tennis Federation denied her request to donate some of her fine to charity.
The auction will run for 92 days, with new items up for sale each week.
The proceeds were originally designated for schools in the United States and Africa, but Williams decided last week to direct some of the money to victims of Haiti’s devastating earthquake.