Early on during this Aussie final, much was made, understandably so, of Serena’s record against the current crop of Top 10 players. Her “worst” record, to date? A 16-11 mark against sister Venus Williams.
— Filipe Ribeiro (@rbfilipe) January 30, 2016
By match point, Kerber had found her highest level of professional delight. Fittingly, it came off another Serena error at net. Even so, the sport’s biggest star knew what it meant to her opponent, quickly rounding the net to embrace her.
— We Are Tennis (@WeAreTennis) January 30, 2016
Many took note of that lovely exchange of happiness and relief after more than two intense hours of tete-a-tete shot-making. Among them were former Serena foil Kim Clijsters; Munich-based FC Bayern football club; and Bastian Schweinsteiger, a soccer star and Ana Ivanovic’s boyfriend.
What a match! Great fight and emotions from both women. Serena very classy after the match . Congrats on grand slam nr 1 @AngeliqueKerber
— Kim Clijsters (@Clijsterskim) January 30, 2016
This is too incredible. Not just Kerber’s triumph, but Serena’s sportsmanship. Absolutely perfect, all of it.
— Chris Oddo (@TheFanChild) January 30, 2016
Incredible sportsmanship’s like pic.twitter.com/Sn2S7OTDO3
— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) January 30, 2016
— Basti Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) January 30, 2016
— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) January 30, 2016
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) January 30, 2016
— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) January 30, 2016
In short, Kerber’s face said it all. She later called her victory, achieved in her 33rd major-tournament appearance, “crazy.”
This photo! pic.twitter.com/dC7lPSZRao
— Steph (@StephintheUS) January 30, 2016
Kerber’s elation and surprise continued a day after her win, as a bottle of bubbly opened up prematurely on her during the Aussie Open champion’s customary and celebratory photo shoot.
When the bottle pops too early pic.twitter.com/omrwDRxOHj
— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) January 31, 2016
— Angelique Kerber (@AngeliqueKerber) January 31, 2016
Big thanks to everyone for the amazing support and all messages I get pic.twitter.com/iSs7OCNu7H
— Angelique Kerber (@AngeliqueKerber) February 1, 2016
At press time, Steffi Graf—Kerber’s compatriot and the last German woman to win a major singles title—had not remarked about the match on social media, namely her Facebook page, which she last updated on Christmas Eve 2015. That is certainly Graf’s way, though even she must be satisfied that her Open-era mark of 22 major singles titles has stiff-armed Serena again.
And those who would stage a coup to usurp Serena at the top may be growing bolder. She remains the far-and-away No. 1 player in terms of rankings points, but no longer have a precious few foes taken cuts at her armor. As The New York Times’ Christopher Clarey put it, “The reasonable assumption now is that the more times women like [Flavia] Pennetta and Kerber can break through, the easier it will get for everybody else trying to find some sunshine in Williams’s shadow.”
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9.