Serena confirmed as no 1

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: February 18 2013, 8:31 GMT

Serena Williams was confirmed as the oldest ever women's number one on Monday morning.

Serena Williams: Back on top of the world rankings
Serena Williams: Back on top of the world rankings

Williams, who first ascended to number one in July 2002, began her sixth spell on top of the world when the WTA published its latest ranking list.

The 31-year-old had assured herself of a return to the summit by reaching the semi-finals of the Qatar Total Open last week, although she eventually lost in the final to Victoria Azarenka, the player she replaces as number one.

Chris Evert was 30 years and 11 months when she held top spot in November 1985. Williams is currently 31 years and four months.

In total, this week will be the American's 124th in top spot - only five other players have spent longer at the summit - Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Evert, Martina Hingis and Monica Seles.

Weeks as no 1

08/07/02-10/08/03 - 57 weeks
08/09/08-05/10/08 - 4 weeks
02/02/09-19/04/09 - 11 weeks
12/10/09-25/10/09 - 2 weeks
02/11/09-10/10/10 - 49 weeks
18/02/13-ongoing - 1 week

"I never thought I would be here again," said Williams, who lost the top ranking in 2010 during a spell on the sidelines.

Initially forced out due to a cut foot, the current Wimbledon and US Open champion developed blood clots in her lungs during her recovery and later spoke of being "on my deathbed" as a result.

The 15-time Grand Slam singles champion added: "I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to get back to number one. It has been a long road back and it's a great feeling. It has been a lot of hard work but I don't want to stop here."

Oldest no 1s

Serena Williams 31 yrs, 4 mths, 24 days (Feb 13)
Chris Evert 30 yrs, 11 mths, 3 days (Nov 85)
Martina Navratilova 30 yrs, 9 mths, 29 days (Aug 87)
Lindsay Davenport 29 yrs, 7 mths, 8 days (Jan 06)

WTA chairman Stacey Allaster said: "This is another amazing accomplishment for a superstar champion who has played an integral role, over the past 15 years, in solidifying tennis as the global leader in women's sports.

"As we celebrate 40 years of the WTA this season, it seems fitting to have Serena, one of the sport's all-time greats and global icons, return to the world number one ranking."

Former number one Azarenka drops to second place in the latest ranking list, while Maria Sharapova stays at number three.

However, Azarenka could reclaim top spot this week when she and Williams both play in Dubai.

Heather Watson remains the top Briton in the rankings at number 41, while Laura Robson climbs two places to 43rd.

Watson plays in Memphis this week, while Robson contests the tournament in Dubai.

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