After a season-long battle for the world No.1 ranking, Serena Williams will conclude the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season on top. When the new rankings are released on Monday, November 2, Williams will be No.1 again, replacing Dinara Safina. Williams secured a return to No.1 following Safina's opening match retirement and Williams' win against Svetlana Kuznetsova. She will hold the top spot at least through the week of December 28, 2009. It will mark the fifth time in Serena's career (third time in 2009) that she will rise to No.1, having held the top ranking for 57 weeks from July 8, 2002 to August 10, 2003; four weeks from September 8 to October 6, 2008; 11 weeks from February 2 to April 19, 2009; and two weeks from October 12 to October 25, 2009. Williams will conclude the season as the top-ranked player for the second time in her career, having achieved the feat in 2002 also. And as a result of the top ranking not changing hands throughout the off-season, she will increase her career total to at least 83 weeks as the top ranked player.
"2009 has been a truly memorable season for me during which I enjoyed some of the biggest wins of my career," Williams said. "Capturing the year-end world No.1 ranking is a huge accomplishment for me and I am thrilled that all the hard work has paid off." "I congratulate Serena on having a great year and achieving one of her goals by finishing the season as the world No.1 player," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Tour. "Serena is a terrific ambassador for our sport." Aldo Liguori, Sony Ericsson Corporate VP and Head of Global Communications & PR, said: "We are delighted to congratulate Serena on this great accolade. Finishing the season ranked Sony Ericsson WTA Tour No.1 for the second time in her career is a tremendous achievement and we look forward to seeing Serena have an even better 2010 season."
The 28-year-old American has had a stellar 2009 season, winning two Grand Slam singles titles (Australian Open and Wimbledon) and the Sony Ericsson Championship. She held No.1 for 13 weeks earlier this year, 11 from February 2 to April 19 and two more from October 12 to 25. In addition to her success in singles she has won four doubles titles with Venus Williams, including three majors (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open). 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. She has now set the record for single season prize money ($6.19 Million), having eclipsed the previous record of $5 million held by Justine Henin (2007).
Williams turned professional at the age of 14 in November 1995 and played her first tournament in Québec 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 35 singles and 17 doubles titles.