Wimbledon: Serena Williams beats Angelique Kerber to match Graf's record of 22 grand slam titles
Serena Williams won the Wimbledon women's final against Germany's Angelique Kerber to win a record-equalling 22nd grand slam title.
Williams won 7-5 6-4 in a tough-fought match that was decided by a few key points - all of which were won by the American veteran.
"It's been very hard not to think about it," she said when asked about her successful chase of Graf's record.
"I had a couple of tries this year," she added, "It makes the victory even sweeter to know how hard I worked for it."
Serena Williams roars after winning the first set in the Wimbledon final v Angelique KerberReuters
She then thanked the crowd profusely and expressed her delight at winning the record on a court which "feels like home" - and it's hardly surprising she feels that way after a seventh singles title on Centre Court at SW19.
The key moments came after Kerber earned a break point against Williams at 4-4 in the second set, only for Serena to save the game with a string of aces.
And she broke immediately afterwards before serving out to love to defend her title - and match Steffi Graf's epic grand slam singles record.
"I love playing Angelique, she's such a great opponent," said Serena of her opponent, "and she's a wonderful person to be around off the court as well. Thank you for being that great person!"
Serena Williams - Angelique Kerber - Wimbledon 2016AFP
The opening set was similarly well-matched, looking certain to go to a tie-break as neither player looked much like breaking the other's serve, despite Serena earning a couple of break points.
Wimbledon - USA's Serena Williams and Germany's Angelique Kerber pose for a photo before their women's singles final matchReuters
But serving at 5-6 Kerber made a few key errors to open the door - and the American pounced, rushing the net during a big rally on break point to push the German long and then roaring in joy as Kerber's attempt to get the ball back fell short.
That gave Williams the opening set 7-5 and put her on course for what would prove to be her seventh Wimbledon title.
Serena Williams celebrates winning her womens singles final match against Germany's Angelique KerberReuters
As for Kerber, the Australian Open champion fought hard throughout and almost kept up, but with the world number one at her very best there was simply no denying Serena Williams this time.
"It's always an honour to play against you," said Kerber, paying tribute to the winner after the match.
Wimbledon 2016: Germany's Angelique Kerber reacts during the womens singles final against USA's Serena WilliamsReuters