Angelique Kerber is the new Wimbledon champion, but Serena Williams is walking away from the match an icon.
Had Williams won, this would have been her eighth Wimbledon title. Kerber took it, 6-3, 6-3. According to the New York Times, Williams was seeded at 25th in the tournament, while Kerber was seeded at 11th.
Wimbledon was Williams’s second major tournament since giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., less than a year ago. The birth was riddled with complications, including an emergency C-section, a pulmonary embolism, and ruptured C-section wounds due to the embolism. Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian Sr., wrote on Twitter that simply walking to the mailbox was a “painful, exhausting challenge” for Williams just nine months ago, and followed it by calling her match “remarkable.”
Because of this, it’s tempting to call the fact that Williams made it to Wimbledon (let alone made it as far as she did) a miracle, but to do so fails to do her justice. Williams’ astounding skill as a tennis player ensured that progressed as far as she did, not anything else.
After the match, Kerber fell to the ground with elation — then, she and Williams embraced.
“I’m just me and that’s all I can be,” Williams said in a post-match interview when the interviewer called her a “super-human super mum.” At some points, she fought back tears. “To all the moms out there, I was playing for you today, and I tried, but Angelique played really well.”
Kerber, who is the first German to win at Wimbledon since Steffi Graf won in 1996, had an equally gracious reaction.
“I knew I had to play my best against a champion like Serena, it is always an honour to share a court with her,” she said, according to CNN.
Today, Kerber was the champion — and Williams is more than okay with that.
“I was really happy to get this far,” Williams said after the match, according to the New York Times. “I’m literally just getting started.”