Open Australian Tennis live
What was most remarkable about Serena Williams’s 17th career win over Maria Sharapova, delivering her a 19th major to draw within three of Steff Graf’s Open era record of 22, was that she could not lose, whatever the result. So publicly had she suffered throughout the 2015 Australian Open with a hacking cough that could be heard even over the screaching of the game’s loudest interjectionists, it was impossible for Sharapova to win. As it happened, their 19th encounter went the way of nearly all the others, Williams winning 6-3, 7-6, despite the Russian’s best fighting instincts. In grand slam finals, Williams, the oldest champion here in the Open era, is 19-4, the best percentage performance in either the men’s or women’s game. She is a phenomenon.
“I love you back, ” she shouted to a fan in the audience before accepting the trophy on court. “In the end I was able to come through. I also have to congratulate Maria who really pushed me tonight. She gave us a great final. “Growing up I wasn’t the richest, but I had a rich family in spirit. Standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen. I went on a court just with a ball and a racket and with a hope.” Thirty years after she won her third Australian Open, Martina Navratilova was on hand to witness Williams’s untrammelled progress towards further glory.