Serena Williams admitted winning the US Open had saved her season after she moved level with men’s legend Roger Federer on 17 grand slams.
The US star saw off Victoria Azarenka 7-5 6-7 (6/8) 6-1 in the final at Flushing Meadows on Sunday night, but said afterwards that she would have viewed the year as a wasted one had she lost.
Williams has lost only four matches all season, but two of those have come in grand slams, where traditionally she has been at her strongest.
When Azarenka fought back from 4-1 down to take the second set with Williams having twice served for the match, it seemed the world number one may have to face more disappointment.
But Williams responded superbly and won the third set easily to add the US Open to the French Open title she clinched in June.
She said: “I felt almost disappointed with my year, to be honest. I felt like, yeah, I won the French Open, but I wasn’t happy with my performances in the other two slams, and not even making it to the quarter-finals of one. So I definitely feel a lot better with at least a second grand slam under my belt this year.”
Williams’ victory gave her a 17th grand slam singles title, moving her level with Federer and only one behind both Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
“It’s an honour to be even with Roger,” said Williams. “He’s been such a great champion throughout the years, and he’s just an unbelievable competitor and he’s still playing, and he can probably still win more. He’s just been so incredibly consistent, so we have had really different careers.
“Then to be compared with Chrissy and Martina — I can’t necessarily compare myself to them, because numbers wise they’re still greater.”
Azarenka felt there was nothing else she could have done to overcome Williams.
“There was no letdown,” she said. “I think in the third set the momentum changed a little bit and I kind of felt like I lost that momentum. But she really made it happen. In that particular moment she was tougher. She was more consistent and she deserved to win.”