LONDON (AFP) - Serena Williams said “it’s crazy” that she has managed to reach a 10th Wimbledon final, 10 months after a series of life-saving surgeries which followed the birth of her daughter and that she still has “traumatic thoughts” over her own mortality.
The 36-year-old American eased past Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-4 and will face another German, Angelique Kerber in Saturday’s final, her 30th Grand Slam championship match.
“It’s crazy. I don’t even know how to feel because I literally didn’t think I’d do this well in my fourth tournament back,” Williams said.
Victory on Saturday (July 14) will give her an eighth Wimbledon title and 24th Grand Slam crown, taking her level with Margaret Court’s all-time mark.
It’s a staggering achievement for Williams, who defeated Kerber in the 2016 final at the All England Club before sitting out the 2017 tournament to prepare for motherhood.
Her daughter Olympia was born in September, but Williams then underwent emergency surgery to prevent life-threatening blood clots.
“It’s no secret I had a super tough delivery. I lost count after, like, four surgeries because I was in so many surgeries,” said Williams after her semi-final win on Thursday.
“It was just routine every day, I had to have a new surgery. Because of all the blood issues I have, I was really touch-and-go for a minute.
“I’m glad no one told me at the time I was going through that.” She was bed-ridden for six weeks and only returned to the tour in March.
Wimbledon is just her fourth tournament since she signed off the tour with the 2017 Australian Open title.
“This is not inevitable for me. I couldn’t even walk to my mailbox, so it’s definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final. I’m just enjoying every moment,” Williams added.
Williams says the problems she faced after the birth of Olympia have left her in constant fear of new complications arising with a pulmonary embolism.
"For me, having to deal with PEs is more mentally challenging because if I have a pain in my leg, I automatically go to the worst-case scenario,” she said.
“That is not very easy. I mean, even this week, I had a pain in my leg, and I went to the worst-case scenario: Oh, my God, I have a PE in my leg.
“I didn’t know I would have such kind of traumatic thoughts, especially now that I have a daughter.
“I want to be around as long as I can to support her. It’s interesting how that mental recovery is actually taking much longer than I ever expected.”
Seeded 25 this year and with a world ranking of 181, Williams insists she will be the underdog against Kerber on Saturday despite boasting a 6-2 career lead over the 30-year-old left-hander.
“I don’t have anything to lose and I feel I can play so free. That’s what I’m doing,” Serena said.