The 23-major winner’s fairytale return to professional tennis following the birth of her daughter was marred by a whopping 24 unforced errors, handing Kerber her third grand slam and first Wimbledon title.
The title match, while treating fans to lengthy rallies and glimpses of the 36-year-old’s renowned precision and power on-court, took just an hour and five minutes before Kerber — who hit just five unforced errors — was lifting the sport’s crown jewel.
Williams was gracious in defeat, sharing a laugh with the victor before receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.
“It was such an amazing tournament for me,” a teary Williams said.
“It’s obviously disappointing but I can’t be disappointed. There’s so much to look forward to. It was such an amazing tournament for me. I was really happy to get this far.
“I’m just me, that’s all I can be. Angelique played really well. It was really good and I’m looking forward to continue being out here.
“She’s an incredible person and a good friend, I’m really happy for her and I hope she can enjoy this moment.”
Williams was praised for her resilient fightback to play in the biggest match of the year months after battling through birth complications.
“I am just me, and that’s all I can be. To all the moms out there, I was playing for you today,” she said.
Kerber shared words of encouragement for Williams, who fell just short of Margaret Court’s all-time major record of 24, after the match.
“I’m sure you’ll have your next grand slam title soon, congrats on you coming back,” Kerber said.
“I knew I had to play my best, it’s always an honour sharing a court with her. (To the fans) thank you for all the support for the past two weeks.”
The final was delayed by the mens second semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal after it was forced onto the Saturday schedule thanks to the marathon epic between John Isner and Kevin Anderson.
Wimbledon’s decision to delay the women’s final was met with a swift reaction from fans and writers alike and was labelled as “sexism”.
WTA insider Courtney Nguyen was furious the women’s showpiece could be affected. “It’s bulls***,” she tweeted, while Aussie tennis great Rennae Stubbs said the men should play after the women.
The decision meant the final between Williams and Kerber was more than two hours past the usual start time, but both shot down all of the recent furore.
“I’m completely a supporter of women, and women’s sport obviously,”
“Honestly, I just feel like it was a necessary evil.
“Not knowing how this match would go, two hours, three hours, I don’t think they could put the men’s semi-final behind the women because they have to come back the next day.
“If the tables were turned, hopefully they would have done the same with the women.
“If you look at it that way, it was probably really the only way to schedule it, yeah.”
Kerber backed up Williams’ stance by stating they had “made the right decision” by playing the game prior to the final.
Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, cheered on from the stands as Williams fell short in her hopes of claiming the crown.
After the contest he shared a touching message to the world about his wife, stating this is only the beginning of her comeback.
Days after our baby girl was born, I kissed my wife goodbye before surgery and neither of us knew if she would be coming back. We just wanted her to survive—10 months later, she's in the #Wimbledon final. Congratulations, @angie.kerber. @serenawilliams will be holding a trophy again soon—she's got the greatest one waiting at home for her. Our family knows she'll win many more trophies, too. She's just getting started. And I couldn't be more proud.
“Days after our baby girl was born, I kissed my wife goodbye before surgery and neither of us knew if she would be coming back,” Ohanian’s post read.
“We just wanted her to survive—10 months later, she’s in the #Wimbledon final.
Serena williams will be holding a trophy again soon—she’s got the greatest one waiting at home for her —and our family knows she’ll win many more trophies, too.
“She’s just getting started. And I couldn’t be more proud.”
The Duchess of Sussex also came out and support her friend, Serena Williams during her big match.