Serena Williams has secured her place in sporting immortality with a seventh Wimbledon crown and landmark 22nd grand slam singles title.
Williams gained sweet revenge over Angelique Kerber with an iron-willed 7-5 6-3 victory over the German in Saturday’s quality final at the All England Club.
The emotional triumph drew the superstar level with Steffi Graf’s open-era record tally of grand slam titles, after Kerber denied her the milestone in this year’s Australian Open final and Garbine Muguruza thwarted Williams again in last month’s French Open decider.
Williams now trails only Margaret Smith Court on the all-time grand slam leaderboard and few would back against the all-conquering world No.1 reaching the Australian legend’s 24 majors at Melbourne Park in January.
Already the oldest grand slam winner in women’s tennis history, the 34-year-old’s latest success is the strawberries and cream on an extraordinary career.
At a time when most champions are long retired, the ageless American has now won an amazing nine grand slam titles since turning 30 and suffering a life-threatening pulminory embolism in 2011.
Underlining her incredible longevity and dominance over three generations of challengers, Kerber is Williams’ 14th grand slam final victim since the American captured her first major at 18 back in 1998.
Williams’ scalps represent a who’s who of pretenders to her throne over two decades.
Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova, sister Venus, Lindsay Davenport, Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina, Vera Zvonareva, Justine Henin, Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Lucie Safarova, Garbine Muguruza and now Kerber have all succumbed to Williams’ unrivalled serving excellence, raw power and competitive fire.
The world No.1 had to dig deep on Saturday, though, with Kerber putting up an almighty fight.
Ultimately, Williams’ phenomenal serve once again proved the difference as she hammered down 13 aces to one and saved the only break point she faced.