Serena makes triumphant start to her 'new career'

It was a chilling message for the rest of women's tennis. "I feel like I have a new career," Serena Williams said here in the early hours of yesterday morning after claiming her third US Open singles title. "I feel so young and I feel so energised to play every week and to play every tournament. I feel like there's just so much that I can do in my career yet. I've never felt like I've played my best tennis."

Williams, who beat Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-5 is still only 26, but this was her first home Grand Slam title for six years. Two years ago she was being written off, having hardly played and apparently lost her appetite for tennis. Now she is back at the top of the women's rankings for the first time for five years and ready to dominate as she did with her sister Venus after the turn of the century.

Serena and Venus, 28, have already seen off Martina Hingis twice, most notably after the Swiss Miss had spent a total of 209 weeks as world No 1 between 1997 and 2001; Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, who both retired before their 26th birthdays; and Lindsay Davenport and Amélie Mauresmo, who are playing out their days on the women's circuit.

Now the sisters, who were taught the game by their father on the public courts at Compton in California, are threatening to leave a new generation of players in the shade. Maria Sharapova, 21, is nursing her injured shoulder and healthy bank balance; Ana Ivanovic, 20, has yet to prove she can sustain the form that brought her a first Grand Slam title in Paris three months ago; Dinara Safina, 22, must perform on the biggest stages; Jankovic, 23, may ultimately lack the sheer physical strength to beat the sisters.

While the final was one of the better matches, this US Open has not been a great advertisement for women's tennis. The best match by some margin was the battle between the Williams sisters in the quarter-finals and from a very early stage the smart money was on one of the two women to take the crown.

So long as the sisters retain their commitment to tennis, the game's biggest prizes, with the possible exception of the clay-court title in Paris, appear to be theirs for the taking. Venus, who beat Serena in the Wimbledon final, looks unstoppable on grass, while both women appear to have the beating of everyone else on hard courts. They have already won 16 Grand Slam titles between them.

This was Serena's ninth and reward for her hard work and dedication. When she came back to win last year's Australian Open as the world No 81 she looked well short of peak condition, but her fitness here has been evident. She did not drop a set in the entire tournament, matching her achievement in 2002, when she was on course for her "Serena Slam", winning all four majors in succession but not in the same calendar year.

"I've been working so hard all year," she said. "Sometimes I've woken up at six in the morning to go and practise and it was too dark. I'd have to wait until it gets light. It's just paying off. No one really knows the work that an athlete puts in."

Jankovic, who would also have taken over the No 1 ranking if she had won, was outhit for periods of the match, but the Serb is a dogged performer and fought back well in the second set. At one stage Williams was serving at 3-5 and 0-40, but Jankovic was unable to capitalise.

"I felt I had her, because she was really tired at the end of the second set," Jankovic said. "Who knows what would have happened if I had got into a third set? I probably would have had the upper hand. But who knows?"

In her moment of victory Serena could not contain her joy, repeatedly jumping in the air in celebration. "I never knew Serena to be very, very excited," her father Richard said. "I knew Serena to be very, very mean. I describe her as being a combination of a pit bull dog, a young Mike Tyson and an alligator."

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments