Wimbledon champ played exhibition with Venus

Updated: January 1, 2005, 9:37 AM ET
Associated Press

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova donated $10,000 to victims of the tsunami disaster in Thailand.

Sharapova, in Bangkok for an exhibition match against former No. 1 Venus Williams, presented the check to Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Thursday.

Sharapova was on a beach in California when she heard about the destruction in Thailand and other nations around the Indian Ocean that killed more than 117,000.

"It's very devastating what has happened," Sharapova said. "But I feel I should have come here. I was committed to coming here and if I didn't I would have felt defeated and, you know, life goes on.

"I love giving back and I think it's very important to help those that are in need."

Both players had been scheduled to join Thaksin for a New Year's Eve countdown party. The event was canceled after the government said the country should abstain from celebrations as it mourned victims of the tragedy.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press