Serena shows she's a truly great champion
NOT for the first time in her career, Serena Williams climbed off the canvas to win her 15th grand slam title on home soil at the US Open.
The 30-year-old had been a hot favourite to beat world number one Victoria Azarenka after her victories at Wimbledon and the Olympics, but she was pushed all the way, fighting back from 5-3 down in the decider to win 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
Williams looked stunned as she absorbed her achievement, which brought a fourth title at Flushing Meadows and very different headlines to the ones she has written in New York over the past few years.
In 2009, the world number four lost to Kim Clijsters in the semi-final after receiving a point penalty for abusing a lineswoman, then last year she was beaten by Sam Stosur in the final after again losing her cool, this time with umpire Eva Asderaki.
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Meanwhile, earlier last year, Williams feared not just her career but her life was in danger when she suffered from blood clots on her lungs as a result of a foot injury that kept her out of the game for a year.
It has been a remarkable period for Williams, and she said: "I don't think about the downs too much. I hope I never think about them as my life continues.
"But I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall. I have fallen several times.
"Each time I just get up and I dust myself off and I pray and I'm able to do better or I'm able to get back to the level that I want to be on.
"So, I feel really awesome that I have been able to do that and that I can do that.
"You see great people like Muhammad Ali, who is a complete person I have always looked up to in sports. I just really think that defines a champion."
Speaking on court after the match, Williams joked she had been preparing her runners-up speech, and she said: "Obviously I would have wanted to win easy.
"But, at the same time, this is more exciting to win because you don't really know what's coming. You don't know what to expect, and then you get it. This is the best feeling I think in tennis."