Through it all, through the hard days of adjusting to life with an energy-sapping autoimmune disease, through the disappointing days of first-round losses that led to questions about retirement, through all of the accumulating years, she pressed on.
After beating six younger women to get to the her first finals since 2009, Williams did not have the staying power to get past the seventh, losing to 23-year-old Garbine Muguruza, 7-5, 6-0.
"This is where you want to be".
Muguruza showed guts to sneak a nerve-shredding opening set, saving two set points before hitting Williams decisively one game later.
"When I had those set points against me, I'm like, "Hey, it's normal".
It was then her turn to go on the offensive.
That one win against Federer turned out to be a major blessing for Cilic, too, as he moved into the 2014 U.S. Open final following that result and beat Japan's Kei Nishikori for the only major title of his career so far.
She forced Williams to come up with winners which, increasingly, she was unable to do. The newly minted champion had nothing but praise for the player she grew up watching.
Williams arrived in England a few weeks after being involved in a two-car accident in Florida. But Williams - last week reduced to tears and fleeing when questioned about the recent Florida auto accident in which she was involved, an elderly passenger in the other vehicle dying - was in a tetchy mood, albeit gracious towards her conqueror.More news: New 'Incredibles 2', 'Toy Story 4' Details Revealed at D23
Her resurgence started a year ago at Wimbledon when she made it to the semifinals.
Witt said they hadn't discussed what happened with each other once the tournament began, hoping Williams could "just focus on the tennis". Whether the Sjogren' Syndrome - an autoimmune disease which causes joint pain, swelling an tiredness - from which she suffers from was a factor. She changed to a plant-based diet.
"There were definitely", Williams said this week, "some issues". She comes here with little momentum and wins seven matches. "My body has done so much for me", she says. "She has won nearly everything".
"There's always something to learn from matches you win and don't win, but it's always about looking forward".
Catching herself - because there's no absolute guarantee Federer will prevail in his bid for a record eighth championship over Marin Cilic - Muguruza quickly added: "I like Cilic". I'm happy to go to Centre Court and to play the best player. It gave her the momentum to pummel Williams as this time she was rewarded with the break, grabbing the first set with both hands to put herself just a set away from the Wimbledon title. I was so excited to go out there and win, especially over somebody like a role model. I feel like that's where I want to be, that's what I practise for. It's just about getting over the line. "I believe I can".
"She's such an incredible player", Muguruza said after the match.
"It was fantastic [to see it there]", she added. "I don't know if I will be like this with her age".
Williams mostly coasted through the tournament and looked poised for another title at the All England Club, which her devoted fans (*raises hand*) eagerly awaited.
She sounded certain that it won't be the last.
Victory was sweet for Reid and Hewett, allowing them to gain revenge for losses to Houdet and Peifer in the finals of both the Rio Paralympics and the French Open earlier this year. "I don't think she was prepared for it two years ago like she is today". The shots she had struck so firmly during an unforgettable fortnight had gone missing.