Serena Williams said she had felt the pressure of chasing an 18th Grand Slam title until Sunday’s US Open victory.
The American beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 6-3 to go fourth on the all-time list of major winners alongside Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
Williams, 32, admitted it had been on her mind all year, and was the first thing she thought of upon victory.
“I’ve been trying to reach it for so long,” she said. “I didn’t really think I would get there. I felt so good.”
Navratilova and Evert joined Williams for the trophy ceremony and presented her with a bracelet carrying the number ’18′ to crown her achievement.
“It means a lot to me,” said the world number one.
“I just could never have imagined that I would be mentioned with Chris Evert or with Martina Navratilova, because I was just a kid with a dream and a racquet, living in Compton, this never happened before.”
It was Williams’s sixth US Open and 18th Grand Slam title.
“I definitely did not think I was going to win a Slam this year,” she added. “And I even said, ‘I’m ready to start next year already. Let’s put this behind me.’
“I’m grateful to win a Grand Slam this year. It feels really good.”
Williams has now won six US Open, five Wimbledon, five Australian Open and two French Open titles over the course of 15 years – a record span of years between winning Grand Slams.
Both Navratilova and Evert won their 18 titles over the course of 12 years, and Williams’s longevity is something that John McEnroe, a four-time US Open winner, believes makes her the best ever.