Serena Williams hails Tiger Woods’ influence as she continues her US Open run.
The 36-year-old former world number one beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-4 7-6 (7/3) to win her fifth Grand Slam title.
Williams, who made her debut at Flushing Meadows in 2000, won the first of her five majors in Flushing Meadows in 2012.
Speaking after the final, she said: “That was a great game plan coming out the way we did and you could see it coming, especially after you saw her [Cibulkova] going up.
“It was a tough start to the match, but I knew I had to stay aggressive and not back down. I knew she was a tough player and I knew we would have to stay on top of each other.
“We had to start with the big points and I tried to give my coach a vote of confidence by saying it was going to take something special out of me.
“We had a bit of an adjustment period at the beginning when I came out the gate. I think we were all a bit nervous. It is always a tough match to play in, especially against someone like Dominika Cibulkova. So I was pretty nervous as I started the match, and then we had our big run and started to close it out.
“The two matches I played after coming out of that tournament were amazing. They gave me some confidence. I was so thankful to the fans who came out to support me.
“It is special because in the past, I have struggled with this and it was an uphill battle for me. And after winning the US Open, you know you can come here and play again.”
However, Williams joked: “I knew the moment I won the US Open. I was just excited to share it.”
Williams will have a shot at her first title at the French Open after winning her first three major singles titles at Wimbledon, US Open and the Australian Open.
“It means a lot,” she said. “Being able to defend five majors that I haven’t defended for a long time is a big accomplishment. And, to win three in a row, that’s exciting. It feels amazing, especially after what I’ve been through in the past two years.
“But winning here, being able to defend the title and be the first woman