Tennis World No.1 Serena Williams has secured her place in sporting immortality with a seventh Wimbledon crown and record-equalling 22nd grand slam singles title.
American Williams gained sweet revenge over Angelique Kerber with an iron-willed 7-5 6-3 victory over the free-hitting German left-hander in a quality final at the All England Club.
The emotional triumph drew the superstar level with Steffi Graf's open-era record tally of grand slam titles, after Kerber denied her the milestone in this year's Australian Open final and Garbine Muguruza thwarted Williams again in last month's French Open decider.
"It's been incredibly difficult not to think about it," Williams said.
"I had a couple of tries this year, lost to two great opponents - one actually being Angelique.
"It made the victory even sweeter knowing how hard I worked for it.
"It's awesome. I'm just so excited."
Williams now trails only Margaret Smith Court on the all-time grand slam leaderboard and few would back against the all-conquering world No.1 reaching the Australian legend's 24 majors at Melbourne Park in January.
Already the oldest grand slam winner in women's tennis history, the 34-year-old's latest success is the strawberries and cream on an extraordinary career.
At a time when most champions are long retired, the ageless American has now won an amazing nine grand slam titles since turning 30 and suffering a life-threatening pulminory embolism in 2011.
Underlining her incredible longevity and dominance over three generations of challengers, Kerber was Williams' 14th grand slam final victim since the American captured her first major at 18 back in 1998.
Williams' scalps represent a who's who of pretenders to her throne over two decades.
Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova, sister Venus, Lindsay Davenport, Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina, Vera Zvonareva, Justine Henin, Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Lucie Safarova, Garbine Muguruza and now Kerber have all succumbed to Williams' unrivalled serving excellence, raw power and competitive fire.
But the world No.1 had to dig deep in this morning's final, with Kerber putting up an almighty fight.
Ultimately, Williams' phenomenal serve once again proved the difference as she hammered down 13 aces to one and saved the only break point she faced.
Williams had the underdog under pressure from the get-go, with Kerber having to fend off two break points in an epic eight-minute opening service game.
But after holding and settling into the contest, Kerber initially adjusted better to the windy conditions that had Williams misjudging several shots.
The top seed had to recover from 15-30 down to hold for 6-5 with her eighth ace.
A game later, she was up a set after successive unforced errors from Kerber handed Williams two set points.
Williams converted on her second with a deep, wide-angled backhand that Kerber could only manage to pull back into the net.
The world No.1 saved the one and only break point she faced with an ace in the seventh game of the second set and broke Kerber the very next game before serving out the match to love after one hour and 21 minutes.
Kerber was gracious in defeat after falling a win short of being the first German since Graf to lift the title at the All England Club and also the first player to beat both Williams sisters en route to the Wimbledon title.
"Really congratulations to Serena. You really deserved the title. You're a great champion, a great person," Kerber said.
"It's always an honour to play the final against you. We played a great match and you deserve it."