On Saturday night, Serena Williams successfully became the only professional competitor on the WTA tour with 19 Grand Slam titles when she defeated world No. 2 Maria Sharapova in straight sets to capture her sixth Australian Open title.
While the match was closer than the scoreline presents it to be, Williams maintained control of the match and eventually concluded it with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win.
The emotional Williams had much to say during her post-match speech.
“I have to congratulate Maria, who played a wonderful, wonderful match tonight. She really pushed me tonight. She played so well and gave us a great final – not only for you guys, but for women’s tennis and all of the sponsors who support our sport and all of us. I’m honored to play you in the final.
“Growing up I wasn’t the richest, but I had a rich family in spirit and support, and standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen. I went on the courts with just a ball, a racquet and a hope. That’s all I had. So all you guys who want to do something or be something, just never give up. You never know what can happen or who you can inspire. I’m just so honored.”
Sharapova, who has now lost 16 consecutive matches to Williams, was humble and respectful in the post-match speech.
“First of all I’ve got to congratulate Serena on creating history and on playing some of her best tennis,” Sharapova said in her runner-up speech. “It’s an honor playing against her. I haven’t beaten her in a really long time, but I love it every time I step on the court to play her because she’s the best, and as a tennis player you want to play the best, so congratulations on such a great achievement.
“It’s been a long couple of weeks here for me. I was almost down and out in the second round, and I gave myself a second life in this tournament. It wasn’t enough today, but I love it here. I’ve had some of my best memories on this court and my toughest losses, but that’s life as a tennis player.”