She had dropped just one set en route to the final, as had Kerber, but had not faced anyone with the pedigree of the German who had experienced a Grand Slam final victory over the American, at the 2016 Australian Open.
Nearly repeated her first-round exit at the 2016 Australian Open, when she was forced to save a match point against Japan's Misaki Doi, but recovered and went on to win her first grand slam title by fending off then-world number one Williams.
Made her first grand-slam main draw at Roland Garros, which she followed up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, though she lost in the first round of each.
"I just feel like she just did a lot of different shots today", Williams said.
Williams had been chasing a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles success and was close to tears at the end, saying on court: "It was such an incredible tournament for me".
Eventually, Wimbledon changed the rule and ranked her 25th in this year's tournament.
After all the time away, Williams spoke about being impressed with herself for just reaching the final.
After the trophy presentation and mutual praise for each other from Kerber and Williams, the new Wimbledon champion spoke with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi.
Speaking after her defeat at Wimbledon, Serena admitted she really wanted to win. "So I have to play my offensive tennis, especially when I need it'".
Despite so much Grand Slam success, despite holding a 6-2 career edge against Kerber entering the day, Williams played tightly right from the outset. Every year for a couple years she comes out to Wimbledon, has supported me. As she began medicating with a heparin drip, a coughing spell from a previous pulmonary embolism caused her C-section stitching to pop open.
The match lasted just one hour and seven minutes. "These two weeks have shown me that I can compete, that I can compete for the long run in a Grand Slam".
Williams cut an emotional figure after a straight-set defeat to Angelique Kerber in the women's singles final of Wimbledon 2018 on Saturday, July 14.
Williams has spoken about the delights of playing freely with nothing to lose during her matches at Wimbledon this year, but on Saturday she played and sounded like a champion who was feeling the pressure.
"No way", Kerber said as she stared at her name on the board of champions inside the clubhouse after the match.
She absorbed the power and blasted balls back in kind.
This time previous year, Kerber was knocked out in the fourth round at the All England Club following a first round exit at Roland Garros. It's obviously disappointing but I can't be disappointed, I have so much to look forward to, you know, I'm literally just getting started.