October 12, 2009

She's BACK....(at #1)

As of today, Serena has secured the keys to the WTA Penthouse for the fourth time in her illustrious career, she's back at #1. Serena has replaced Dinara Safina, who held the position for 25 consecutive weeks since April 20. Williams is spending her 73rd week (overall) at #1, having held the top ranking for 57 weeks from July 8, 2002 to August 10, 2003; four weeks from September 8, 2008 to October 6, 2008; and 11 weeks from February 2 to April 19, 2009. Safina's second round exit at the China Open gave Serena an opportunity to recapture No.1, which she secured by defeating Ekaterina Makarova in the second round.

"2009 has been a very good season for me during which I enjoyed some of the best wins of my career," Williams said. "Attaining the world No.1 ranking makes me want to work even harder and is ultimately the icing on the cake." "Serena has achieved great results this year, impressing everyone with her gritty performances, especially at the Grand Slams. Regaining the world No.1 ranking has been a goal of Serena's and she has worked very hard all year. I congratulate her on achieving this feat for the fourth time in her career," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Tour.

The 28-year-old American has had a stellar 2009 season, winning two Grand Slam singles titles (Australian Open and Wimbledon) and posting solid results at the other two Slams, falling to eventual champions at both (to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros and to Kim Clijsters in the semifinals of the US Open). She held No.1 for 11 weeks earlier this year from February 2 to April 19. A finalist at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Williams has nine wins over Top 10 opponents this season and is the Tour's prize money leader for 2009 with $4,586,486 (through October 5).

Earlier this year in February, Williams became the first professional female athlete to eclipse the $23-million mark in any professional sports league and surpassed Lindsay Davenport ($22,144,735) as the all-time prize money leader on the Tour. In addition to her success in singles, Williams has also won four doubles titles this year with sister Venus, including three Grand Slams (Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open) as well at Stanford. Williams turned professional at the age of 14 in November 1995 and played her first tournament in Quebec City, Canada.

In her 14-year career she has won every major title at least once for a total of 11 Grand Slam singles titles, becoming only the fifth woman, other than Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf, to achieve such a feat. Of the current players, only her older sister, Venus Williams, comes close to such an achievement, with seven Grand Slam singles titles to her name. Williams has won four Australian Opens (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009), one French Open (2002), three Wimbledons (2002, 2003, 2009) and three US Opens (1999, 2002, 2008). Also, Williams has won two Olympic golds, playing doubles with Venus at Sydney in 2000 and at Beijing in 2008, and is the owner of 34 singles and 17 doubles titles.

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