Williams' 6-3 6-3 finals loss to inspired German Angelique Kerber denied the American a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles crown.
30-year-old Angelique Kerber has won her first Wimbledon title after defeating favourite Serena Williams in two straight sets. She also beat Williams in the Australian Open final in 2016, then won that year's U.S. Open.
Kerber had endured a significant slump a year ago after wining her previous major titles at the Australian and US Opens in 2016.
While Serena was frustrated by the surprise setback, she took heart from her run to the final in just the fourth tournament of her comeback following daughter Olympia's birth in September. The fact that Williams even competed in the Wimbledon final this soon after her life was at stake is incredible in itself. "But now I'm just trying to improve my game, thinking not too much about the results, trying to be a better tennis player, a better person".
Kerber is the first German woman to win the Wimbledon title since Steffi Graf in 1996.
"I am sitting here and I am the champion but it's still not really in my mind [that it is real]", she said.
Tennis is a game of match-ups they say, and Kerber's counter-punching ways lend itself to some of the most interesting, dramatic matches.
Just ten months ago, the legend Serena Williams almost lost her life due to childbirth complications. Unforced error after unforced error led to her losing consecutive sets, 6-3, to fall short of the title. That was on display on Saturday (Sunday NZT) when she delivered a pair of down-the-line forehand passing winners to collect the last break she'd need, for a 4-2 edge in the second set. Those aren't mere words, but at the same time they literally do not offer much in the way of nuance. It's her first title and I know she's going to really enjoy it and enjoy the moment. Kerber produced some of her best tennis and brought out the best from her opponent, Azarenka, for one of the greatest matches in recent times, in the third round of 2015 US Open. "Like I train in the morning and I spend the rest of the day with her, so I don't get to be with her the full day but a pretty good chunk out of the day".
"Every time I go out there, I want to, I guess, take a giant step forward", she said. Kerber defeatedWilliams 6-3, 6-3, to win the tournament.
In a role reversal from her wedding - at which Williams was a guest in May - Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, watched her friend alongside sister-in-law Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, from the royal box.