Serena Williams is the GOAT — there's no doubting that. She's the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam title, which she achieved at the 2017 Australian Open. After Thursday's semifinal match, Serena, now 37, also became the oldest female Grand Slam finalist in history. She has 23 Grand Slam singles titles to her name, second to Margaret Court's 24. But in Serena's second Wimbledon final since the birth of her daughter, she did not come out on top to tie Margaret's record. Romanian Simona Halep, 27, beat Serena 6-2, 6-2.
The hour of play was intense to say the least. It took Serena five games to get on the scoreboard, and Simona started strong, claiming that opening 6-2 set. During the second set, Serena returned with better rhythm and power — which she's known for — and seemed to shake some initial nerves. However, Simona's court coverage and speed was spot on, and she clinched victory with another 6-2 set. This is her second Grand Slam title after winning the 2018 French Open and first title at Wimbledon. This is, notably, the first time Romania has ever had a Wimbledon singles champion.
Serena waved to the crowd before accepting her prize for runner-up — and she cheered on Simona as well. "She literally played out of her mind," Serena said of Simona. "Congrats on all the hard work." Simona admitted that she was nervous and that she'd "never" played so well. By winning, Simona also fulfilled her mom's dream. "It was an amazing year, an amazing tournament, and I can't wait to come back here," she added.
When asked after her semifinal win against Barbora Strýcová why she keeps coming back, Serena replied, "I love what I do. I wake up every morning, and I get to be fit and I get to play my sport." She echoed this during Saturday's acceptance speech, saying that she loves tennis — it's as simple as that.
"The day I stop fighting for equality . . . will be the day I'm in my grave."
At a press conference post-Wimbledon, Serena said she ultimately made "too many errors" and Simona just "played her heart out." Serena told reporters, "I think, for me, any loss is not easy per se, but like I said on the court, when someone plays lights out, there's not much you can do." She continued to say that as she gets older, she doesn't think about time. It won't be harder to win a title from here; rather, it's about "going out there and doing the best you can do."
She wrapped up with a powerful message. When asked what Serena would say to people who argue that she should stop "being a celebrity" and fighting for equality and start focusing more on her tennis, she stated without hesitation, "The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me will be the day I'm in my grave."
Ahead, check out photos from the match, plus speeches from both Serena and Simona on the Wimbledon court.