Her presence in the final of a Grand Slam in just her 14th match since that traumatic experience has convinced Serena she can catch Court and even break her record in the future.
Angelique Kerber became the first German woman to win Wimbledon for 22 years on Saturday but insisted the seeds of her shock triumph over Serena Williams were sown during a miserable 2017 season. For Serena, surpassing Margaret Court (24 grand slam titles) and making more history at Wimbledon will have to wait, despite that she still had an unbelievable run given her return from pregnancy just a few weeks previously. "I look forward to it", she said. "It's always an honour to share a court with her".
Kerber, who was ranked No. 11, beat Williams 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour at the women's single final at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London.
Serena Williams cried after she dedicated her Wimbledon performance "to all the moms out there" after reaching the final just ten months after almost dying during childbirth.
"I'm still sure that we haven't seen the best Angie", said her coach, Wim Fissette.
She briefly hit back, breaking to love in the fourth game, but then produced another error-strewn effort, including two double faults, to gift a 4-3 lead to Kerber. As she put it this week: "I lost count after, like, four surgeries". And then came Kerber, a former No. 1 who plays a style that hasn't often worked against Serena (she was only 2-6 against her lifetime) but was tailor-made for this tournament.
"It's obviously disappointing but I am just getting started", said an emotional Williams after losing in the Wimbledon final for the first time since 2008. Though the German wasn't the aggressor, she still out-attacked the greatest attacker in tennis. She has added a more aggressive element to her game in recent years. I can not describe this feeling because when I was a kid I was always dreaming for this moment.
Markle attended the event in 2016, around the time she was set up on a blind date with Prince Harry, while Middleton has regularly attended matches with both her sister, Pippa Middleton, and her husband, Prince William.
"Well, I think it was a happy story", Williams said with a smile.
Serena though will not have it easy as Kerber has been as good as anybody in the ongoing tournament. But when Williams steps out on to court at the US Open she will surely be even hungrier and fitter - and, as usual, be the one player her opponents are afraid of most of all.