WIMBLEDON, England — For Serena Williams, the low point came in early 2011, when she spent hours lying around her home, overwhelmed by a depressing series of health scares that sent her to the hospital repeatedly and kept her away from tennis for 10 months.
The high point came Saturday on Centre Court at Wimbledon, when Williams dropped to the grass, hands covering her face. She was all the way back, a Grand Slam champion yet again.
Her serve as good as there is, her grit as good as ever, Williams was dominant at the start and finish, beating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 to win a fifth singles title at the All England Club and 14th major title overall, ending a two-year drought.
"I just remember, I was on the couch, and I didn't leave the whole day, for two days. I was just over it. I was praying, like, 'I can't take any more. I've endured enough. Let me be able to get through this,' " recalled Williams, whose ranking slid to 175th after a fourth-round loss at the All England Club last year, her second tournament back.
"Coming here and winning today is amazing. It's been an unbelievable journey for me."
That's why tears flowed and she hugged her parents and older sister Venus, who has five Wimbledon titles of her own. This pair of siblings now accounts for 10 of the past 13 Wimbledon singles trophies. They added their fifth Wimbledon doubles title in the evening, beating Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 7-5, 6-4.
"(Serena) hasn't had an easy road," Venus said. "For her to fight through that and come back and be a champion — it was definitely emotional."
A few days after winning Wimbledon in 2010, Serena cut both feet on broken glass at restaurant. She needed two operations on her right foot. Then she got blood clots in her lungs, for which she needed injections of a blood thinner. Those shots led to a pool of blood gathering under her stomach's skin, requiring another procedure.
"That made her realize where her life was, really, and where she really belonged and that she really loved the game," said Williams' mother, Oracene Price.
Against Radwanska, aiming to be the first Polish Grand Slam singles champion and ascend to No. 1 in the rankings, Williams was streaky but also superb. She won the first five games and the last five. She compiled a 58-13 landslide of winners. She swatted 17 aces, including four at 114 mph, 107 mph, 115 mph, 111 mph in one game to pull even at 2-all in the third set. That was part of a run in which she won 15 of 18 points. Her ace total climbed to a tournament-record 102, surpassing her mark of 89 in 2010.
"So many aces," said Radwanska, 23, whose two-week total was 16, "and I couldn't do much about it."
After a 20-minute rain delay between the first two sets, Radwanska, ill with respiratory trouble, rallied a bit. But Williams regained control down the stretch.
Radwanska will be No. 2 in the rankings behind Victoria Azarenka today.
At 30, Williams is the oldest women's major singles champion since Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon in 1990 at 33. Asked what more she could want, Williams replied: "Are you kidding? The U.S. Open. The Australian Open. The French Open. Wimbledon 2013."