WELLINGTON - The length of time Serena Williams held her arms aloft after clinching her first WTA title in almost three years spoke volumes on Sunday as the American prepares for the latest tilt at a 24th Grand Slam title in Melbourne next week.
The celebration after her Auckland Classic victory was not as effusive as some of her previous 72 title wins, and the $43,000 winner's cheque, which she donated to Australia bushfire relief efforts, was a drop in the ocean for someone who has won almost $93 million in career prize-money.
But the victory was highly significant in that it ended the worst title drought of her career.
Since winning her 23rd Grand Slam at the 2017 Australian Open, Williams had lost all five of her five previous finals, four at majors, a run that made the most dominant player in the modern era look fallible.
"It's pretty satisfying to get a win in a final," Williams told reporters. "That was really important for me.