New York - Serena Williams is enjoying the moment rather than chasing
history, but winning a fifth US Open on Sunday just 18 days before turning 32
has given her some age-defying and record-rivalling Grand Slam ideas.
World number one Williams defeated second-ranked Victoria Azarenka of
Belarus 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 6-1 to defend her title and win her 17th career Grand
Slam crown, as many as men's record-holder Roger Federer has collected.
"It's an honour to be even with Roger," Williams said. "He
has been such a great champion throughout the years and he's just an
unbelievable competitor. It feels really good to be in that same league as
Williams remains seven shy of Margaret Court's all-time major record of 24
titles and five adrift of Steffi Graf's Open-Era mark of 22, but a fourth major
title after turning 30 has made her think about collecting many, many more.
"I feel great. I have never felt better," Williams said. "I
feel really fit. I can play a tournament like this, singles and doubles, with
tough schedules. I haven't felt like this in a number of years.
"I'm excited about the possibilities. I don't know what can
Williams, who won her first Grand Slam at the US Open in 1999 at age 17, has
also won five Wimbledon and Australian Open titles as well as taking her second
French Open crown earlier this year.
"Being older, it's always awesome and such a great honour, because I
don't know if I'll ever win another Grand Slam," Williams said.
"It has more meaning in history. It's definitely a different feeling.
It was amazing winning at 17. The difference is it hasn't settled in yet. I'm
thinking still about what I could have done better and why I didn't do that.
"I think I'm a little crazy in that part, like something must be not
right because I don't even relish the moment enough. I just automatically
think, 'What's next?'"
Williams served for the match twice in the second set, each time being
broken by Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion. After faltering in the
tie-breaker, she dominated the third set for the victory.
"I got a little uptight, which probably wasn't the best thing,"
Williams said. "It was just good to get through that. At that point, just
getting the win under your belt is awesome."
By winning the rematch of last year's final, Williams became the first top
seeded US Open champion since Justine Henin in 2007 and the first woman to
defend the crown successfully since Kim Clijsters in 2010.
Williams said she never considered changing her pink dress despite gusting
winds that blew it to her waist at times.
"The wind was unbelievable. It just got worse and worse and never let
up," Williams said. "I didn't think about changing. Not at all."
Among her well-wishers after the triumph was former US President Bill
"We reminisced about when I was a teenager and how he first saw me then
coming to the White House and several times at the US Open," she said.
"It was interesting because we actually have a history. That's kind of
unique to have a history with a former president of the United States of
It was the 55th career title for Williams and her ninth of the year, a
one-season personal best. She took home $3.6m in prize money and bonuses to
give her more than $9m this year and more than $50m lifetime.
That endears her to another US government figure - Uncle Sam, the fictional
character who is sometimes used to symbolise America's tax man.
"Someone told me today I passed 50 (million), but half of that goes to
my Uncle Sam. I love him. I'm always giving him half my money."