Initially frustrated by a swirling wind at Arthur Ashe Stadium and shaken by Azarenka's second set comeback from 4-1 down, Williams regained the momentum in the third set with her power and range of strokes propelling her to a 17th grand slam title.
Williams will be 32 later this month but she seems far from even contemplating life after tennis.
"I feel great. I have never felt better. I feel really fit. I can play a tournament like this, singles, doubles, with tough, tough schedules. For the most part, I felt really good," she said.
"I haven't felt like this in a number of years. I'm excited about the possibilities. I don't know what can happen. I just keep playing and do the best that I can," Serena said.
Certainly Azarenka, who put up a brave fight throughout and looks easily the most likely to take over Williams' mantle whenever she does retire, had no doubts about the qualities of her opponent.
"She's a champion, and she knows how to repeat that. She knows what it takes to get there," said the Belarussian.
"I think it's incredible what she's achieving. She's playing definitely her best tennis right now. It is just really exciting for me to be able to compete against that type of player who can be the greatest of all time," Belarussian said.
The 17th slam victory puts Williams on a par with Roger Federer among contemporary players of both genders and brings her within one title of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, the fourth most successful women of all-time.
"It's an honor to be even with Roger. He's been such a great champion throughout the years, and he's just an unbelievable competitor and he's still playing, and he can probably still win more," said Williams.
"He's just been so incredibly consistent, so we have had really different careers," Williams said.
"Then to be compared with Chrissy and Martina - not yet, because I'm still not quite there yet. I can't necessarily compare myself to them, because, you know, numbers-wise they're still greater," she said.


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