Serena Williams has warned her rivals she is hungrier than ever to win more grand slam titles after the American beat Angelique Kerber to be crowned Wimbledon champion again.
Williams’ victory on Centre Court means she moves level with Steffi Graf’s Open-era record 22 major triumphs and just two short of Margaret Court’s all-time best 24.
The world number one arrived at SW19 with questions to answer after three successive disappointments at the US, Australian, and French Opens.
There was little sign of self-doubt, however, during another dominant display against Kerber — and Williams insists her motivation to add more silverware to her collection remains as strong as ever.
“I feel like when you’re great you are greedy because you want to keep going back to the table,” said Williams.
“You want to eat more and eat more and eat more. You don’t ever get enough.
“Even in putting your career first you have to be really selfish and greedy, it is what it is, I come first and that’s what needs to be done in order for me to be the best.”
Williams’ seventh success at the All England Club was perhaps her most significant, particularly coming after some of the most challenging months in her career.
The top seed was denied a calendar grand slam by Italy’s Roberta Vinci at Flushing Meadows last year, before slipping up to Kerber in Melbourne and then Garbine Muguruza in Paris.
“Unfortunately I definitely do see myself differently when I lose, which I don’t think is normal,” said Williams.
“I definitely feel like when I lose, I don’t feel as good about myself. But then I have to remind myself, ‘you are Serena Williams, you know like, are you kidding me?’
“In those moments I have to come off and just be like, ‘do you know what you’ve done, who you are, and what you continue to do, not only in tennis, but off the court as well? You’re awesome.’
“I think that really just shows the human side of me. I’m not a robot, I just expect perfection.”
Recovering emotionally from her defeat to Muguruza last month took time but there was a moment when Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou knew rejuvenation was near.
“I was just talking through things and how I was disappointed I lost the French and what I needed to do better at Wimbledon,” said Williams.
“He said ‘you’re back’. At some point over those four or five days, towards the end he said I had sent him a text, and in that text he said he recognised I was different.
“I asked him what that meant and he said that he felt I was different when I sent that text and he was very encouraged by it. We were able to build on that.
“One day when I woke up I felt different. I felt I can do better, not only I can do this but I am going to do this and there is nothing in this world that is going to stop me.”
At 34, Williams is the oldest woman to win a major title in the Open era and has been the oldest female world number one since she returned to the summit in February 2013.
She has now won nine grand slams since turning 30 and, after her 36-year-old sister Venus reached her first semi-final since 2010, there may be many more years to come.
“I really don’t know how long I will play, at this point I don’t really look too much in the future,” said Williams.
“I’m really living for the moment right now, trying to take this up and enjoy it and embrace it. Then I’ll go on to the next title and then I’ll see how I feel.”
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