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 life-threatening blood clot in her lungs almost ended her glittering tennis career, Williams blotted out the mental and physical scars to climb back into the Grand Slam winner's circle.
At the age of 30, the American, who grew up practising 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, said 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 after winning her 13th slam at Wimbledon in 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 a tube in my stomach and it was draining constantly.
"I had two foot surgeries. It was a lot. I just felt down, the lowest of lows."
On Saturday, she enjoyed the highest of the highs as she matched her sister Venus's haul of five Wimbledon trophies.
"Coming here and winning today is amazing because literally last year I was ranked almost 200. It's been an unbelievable journey for me," said the world number six.