Just 10 months after giving birth, Serena Williams can complete her incredible comeback in Saturday’s Wimbledon final against Angelique Kerber as she bids to become the first mother to win the tournament for 38 years.
The 36-year-old reached her first Grand Slam final as a mother just 10 months after giving birth as the seven-time champion marched into her 10th Wimbledon title match with a 6-2, 6-4 rout of Julia Goerges.
On 20-match winning streak at Wimbledon, Williams will face German world number 10 Angelique Kerber on Saturday in a repeat of the 2016 showpiece won by Williams.
In only her fourth tournament since the arrival of her daughter Olympia in September, the 23-time Grand Slam champion is closing in on her first major title since becoming a parent.
It was a cathartic moment for the 36-year-old, who endured severe labour complications that left her needing life-saving operations.
“It’s crazy. I don’t even know how to feel. I didn’t expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back,” Williams said.
Serena can also equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles if she beats Kerber.
Before the 2018 finals begin, here’s a throwback to the seven titles she won, starting with a win over sister Venus back in 2002.
2002: beat Venus Williams 7-6, 6-3
Aged 20, Serena already had two Grand Slam titles under her belt, but winning her first Wimbledon crown, at the expense of her sister Venus, was her true breakthrough moment. Venus, two years older, was the world’s top player at the time. Serena made it clear who would end up being regarded as the family’s best player as she sealed a dominant win that moved her above Venus to the top of the WTA rankings.
2003: beat Venus Williams 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
With five Grand Slams in her trophy cabinet, Serena was well established as a global star, but the Williams’ sisters popularity with fans was still hit and miss after a less than warm reception at the French Open. This was one of a clutch of strangely lacklustre all-Williams finals that played a role in the public’s apathy. Despite suffering from an abdominal injury earlier in the tournament, Venus was Serena’s final opponent again and it was the younger sibling who took the title for a second successive year.
2009: beat Venus Williams 7-6, 6-2
After a barren six-year spell marred by Wimbledon final defeats against Venus and Maria Sharapova, it was Serena’s time to regain her throne. The sisters went into the final with a 10-10 record, but having powered through the draw without dropping a set, defending champion Venus began as a marginal favourite. Serena had other ideas, winning comfortably to end Venus’s hopes of a third straight title. Victory in the fourth all-Williams Wimbledon final made it 11 Grand Slams for Serena.
2010: beat Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2
In the most one-sided of Serena’s Wimbledon finals, she needed just 66 minutes to demolish the out-classed Vera Zvonareva. The American didn’t drop a set in the entire tournament and Russian 21st seed Zvonareva, playing in her first Grand Slam final, was no match. Williams also moved past Billie Jean King to sixth in the all-time list of female Grand Slam singles champions with 13 major titles. Looking towards King in the Centre Court Royal Box afterwards, Williams said: “Hey Billie, I got you, it’s number 13 for me.”
2012: beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 5-7, 6-2
This was an emotional fifth Wimbledon title for Serena after injury and health issues forced her to the sidelines for over a year between 2010 and 2012. Radwanska made a fight of it, winning a rain-delayed second set. Serena became the first woman over 30 to win Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova in 1990, while her 102 aces were the most in an All England Club campaign. “I can’t even describe it. I almost didn’t make it a few years ago,” she said.
2015: beat Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4
For the second time, the American secured the ‘Serena Slam’ as she held all four Grand Slam titles at the same time. Muguruza was making her Major final debut and Serena exploited the youngster’s nerves despite a brief wobble of her own late in the second set when she twice dropped serve. It was the 33-year-old’s 21st Grand Slam title and third of 2015. “There was definitely pressure towards the end,” said Williams, who also completed the Serena Slam in 2003.
2016: beat Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3
Serena’s seventh Wimbledon triumph gave her an historic 22nd Grand Slam title, equalling Steffi Graf’s Open era record. Kerber had beaten Williams in the Australian Open final in January, but the German couldn’t produce another shock. Williams, who had lost the French Open final just weeks earlier, was back to her best, dropping only one set en route to the silverware. “This court definitely feels like home,” she said.