The 30-year-old American has gone back to go forwards, returning to the scene of her last grand-slam singles title, in 2010, then seeing off third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 on Centre Court on Saturday.
It was her fifth Wimbledon crown, her 14th grand-slam title, but seemed one of her most emotional – the sixth seed collapsing to the turf at the finish before climbing into the stand for a tearful embrace with her family, an outpouring of elation, and some relief, given her journey back from the brink.
Complications, including a blood clot on her lungs, following a foot injury caused by stepping on glass after her Wimbledon win two years ago left Williams, in her own words, on her "deathbed".
"I think I would probably have won several more grand slams had I [not had things] happen to me, for no reason," she said. "But you never know why things happen. There is a reason for everything. I am living in this moment and every time I win any match, I am happy."
She recovered in Florida and contemplated whether she would again play tennis. She garnered the strength to return to the tour, but after her fourth-round loss at Wimbledon last year her world ranking had fallen to 175th.
Fast-forward 12 months, and the picture seems decidedly rosier. "I want to keep doing more and I want to play well," she said. "I don't want to think about a legacy because I am definitely going to keep playing for many years to come. I have never felt better. I feel awesome and amazing. I just feel like all this is going great."
In double-quick time she proved to be as good as her word, teaming up with her sister Venus to win the women's doubles, six-and-a-half hours after her singles win. It was their fifth Wimbledon doubles title – taking their tally to 13 grand-slam doubles titles, while Serena has also two mixed doubles wins – 29 in all. After watching the singles, Venus was delighted to get back on court.
"I felt I played a match with her earlier, so I felt like it was my second match too," Venus said, after accepting the doubles trophy in the royal box. "It was a great day for all of us. If anyone knows what that [winning the singles and doubles here on the same day] feels like, it's me. It's an amazing feeling."
In the two years between Williams' Wimbledon wins, the seven grand-slam titles were shared among six players, with no-one able to take a stranglehold on the women's game. As Venus continues to battle with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can induce severe fatigue, Serena may now be favourite to shake things up.
Her Centre Court tears came after an emotional fortnight including admissions of her love life being "a shambles", and how she cries at TV programmes: "Tennis and God are my priorities," she said. "Tennis is what I have and what I know I am good at. It never lets me down and I can do so much with it."
Williams has an identical grand-slam record to Pete Sampras, who dominated the men's game for a decade. "I really loved Pete when I was younger," Serena said. "My dog's name is Jackie Violet Pete after Pete Sampras, so obviously I'm a little bit obsessed. I didn't realise I had the same stats. My career is not over; I definitely want a few more."