Serena: ‘No. 1 was so far off. It was always a dream'
After Serena Williams became the oldest woman to secure the top spot since the computer rankings were introduced in November 1975, the 31-year-old reflected on what it means to her. A 15-time Grand Slam champion, Williams has frequently said that the No. 1 ranking meant little to her, but after defeating Petra Kvitova in three sets in Doha, said she was downplaying it because she didn't want to put extra pressure on herself.
Williams broke down in tears after beating Kvitova. She replaces Victoria Azarenka in the top spot and will play No. 3 Maria Sharapova in the semis.
“In my particular situation I never thought I'd play again,” she told reporters. “Then I thought I'd never be able to win tournaments or Grand Slams. No. 1 was so far off. It was always a dream, but I was No. 1 when tragedy struck, and it was just an awful thing to happen. So I'm happy that I'm back.”
Serena is likely referring to her half sister Yetunde Price, who was shot was shot to death in 2003 in Los Angeles.
“I didn't expect that reaction [crying on court] at all. It was completely surprising to me, but it was nice. It was really genuine, and it felt good and completely unexpected.”
Williams first became No. 1 on July 8, 2002 after she won her first Wimbledon title at age 20. She returned to No. 1 more than five years after that, which remains the longest gap between stays at No. 1 in WTA history.
At 31 years, four months, and 24 days, Williams became the oldest woman to hold No. 1. Previously, Chris Evert was 30 years, 11 months, 3 days when she last held the No. 1 ranking on November 24, 1985.