She was born a fighter and on Saturday Serena Williams proved she is the ultimate survivor as she completed her "unbelievable journey" from a pit of despair to win a fifth Wimbledon crown.
Seventeen months after a being diagnosed with a blood clot in her lungs which almost ended her glittering tennis career, Williams blotted out the mental and physical scars to climb back into the grand slam winner's circle by snuffing out Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 5-7 6-2.
Almost everyone but those closest to her thought the days when Williams would be holding aloft one of the four major trophies were all but over.
But at the age of 30, the American, who grew up practicing on cracked public courts in Compton surrounded by drug dealers and drive-by shootings, showed the world what she was still capable of as she blazed a backhand winner to win her 14th grand slam trophy.
It was little wonder she collapsed on to her back in her moment of glory and still lying on the ground, she covered her face for several seconds, no doubt thinking about all the injuries, illnesses and surgery she has had to endure in the past two years.
"I can't even describe it. I almost didn't make it a few years ago. I was in hospital but now I'm here again and it was so worth it. I'm so happy," a beaming Williams, with her voice quivering, told the crowd as she hugged the Venus Rosewater Dish.
"I never dreamt of being here again, being so down," added the American, whose tale of woe started when she sliced her foot on a piece of glass in a Munich restaurant soon after winning her 13th slam at Wimbledon in July 2010.
"I didn't give up (even when I had the clot). I was just so tired at that point.
"Gosh, right before that I had the blood clot, I had lung problems.... I had two foot surgeries. It was a lot. I just felt down, the lowest of lows."