Angelique Kerber does not believe she could have won Wimbledon without going through the hardship she endured in 2017.
The German scaled the heights of women's tennis two years ago after a year that included grand slam titles at the Australian and US Open, as well as a loss to Serena Williams in the final at the All England Club.
On Saturday, Kerber avenged that defeat by beating the American great – who was attempting to equal Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 grand slams – 6-3 6-3 on Centre Court.
Kerber concedes that the weight of expectation that greeted her last season, in which she failed to win a WTA Tour title, helped her deal with the pressure over the past fortnight.
"I think without 2017 I couldn't win this tournament. I think I learned a lot from last year, with all the expectation, all the things I go through," she told a news conference.
"I learned so many things about myself, about the things around, how to deal with this, how to make my day schedule.
"I think I tried to enjoy every single moment now. Also finding the motivation after 2016, which was amazing. I think to making again such a year is impossible.
"But now I just try to focus on improving my game, thinking not too much about the results, trying to be a better tennis player, a better person and trying to enjoy my tennis again."
Kerber believes her victory is particularly special as she feels few people expected her to triumph.
"I think it's a completely new feeling because 2016 everything starts where I won my first Grand Slam," she added.
"Here, especially after 2017 when I think nobody was expecting me to come back so strong, to coming back how I came, to winning my third Grand Slam, winning Wimbledon, which was always my dream. I think two weeks ago nobody expected I can go so far.
"I was trying to stay focused the whole two weeks, every single day, trying to improve my tennis, trying to stay in my moment, not thinking too much, not thinking what can happen."