From the WTA: ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Following a 2013 season highlighted by winning nine titles, including two Grand Slams, Serena Williams has secured the Women’s Tennis Association’s Year-End No.1 for the third time in her, having also achieved the honor in 2002 and 2009.
Williams has held the WTA World No.1 ranking on six occasions during her a career, most recently since February 17, 2013, which saw her become the oldest player to hold the No.1 position since computer rankings were introduced in 1975. On Monday, September 30, she will have held the top ranking for a total of 156 non-consecutive weeks throughout her career.
“Serena has proven time and time again throughout her career that she is an incredible champion, both on and off the court,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA. “This season she continues to rewrite the record books, proving that she is one of the sport’s greatest athletes of all-time.”
“We are delighted to present Serena with the Year-End No. 1 trophy which signifies the terrific season that she has had in 2013. She is a great champion and we look forward to welcoming her back to Dubai in 2014,” said Salah Tahlak, Senior Vice President Corporate Communications of Dubai Duty Free and Tournament Director for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Williams’ stellar 2013 season has seen her collect a career-best nine singles titles: Brisbane International, Sony Open Tennis (her sixth title at Miami), Family Circle Cup (Charleston), Mutua Madrid Open, Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), Collector Swedish Open (Bastad), Rogers Cup (Toronto), Roland Garros and US Open (her 16th and 17th Grand Slam singles crowns respectively). With 55 career titles, Williams is now tied for seventh with Lindsay Davenport and Virginia Wade on the all-time list of most titles won.
Her $3.6million prize money payout from the US Open is the largest single prize money purse in tennis history, making her the first woman to surpass $9million in a single season, and pushing her career earnings past $50million. Her 67-4 win-loss record for the season included a career-best 34-match win streak. During Wimbledon, she achieved her 600th win at all levels, a feat accomplished by just 14 other players in WTA history.
Williams turned professional at the age of 14 in November 1995 and played her first tournament at Quebec City, Canada. During her 18 year career, she has won every Grand Slam singles and doubles title at least once, in addition to four Olympic gold medals.
The American becomes the seventh player to finish the season as the WTA’s year-end No.1 three or more times during her career, joining Steffi Graf (8), Martina Navratilova (7), Chris Evert (5), Lindsay Davenport (4), Justine Henin (3) and Martina Hingis (3).
Williams will be presented with her year-end No.1 trophy during an on-court ceremony at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul.
World No.5 Li Na has qualified for this year’s TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, to be staged at the Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul, Turkey, from October 22-27, 2013.
The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships showcases the world’s best women tennis players as the Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams compete for a record-setting $6 million in prize money. Istanbul is set to host the season-ending competition for a third and final year. Li is the fifth player to qualify for the year-end event joining Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska.
“I’m so happy to have qualified again for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships as one of the Top 8 players this season. I had a great time in Istanbul last year and I’m looking forward to coming back and playing my best tennis for the fans in Turkey,” said Li Na.
Li began the season winning her seventh career title in front of her home fans at the Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open. She then advanced to her third career Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, finishing runner-up in a dramatic three-set final to then-world No.1 Victoria Azarenka. Another finals appearance followed, this time on clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (Stuttgart), in addition to semifinal showings on hardcourt at the Apia International Sydney, Rogers Cup (Toronto), Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati) and, for the first time, the US Open.
The 31-year-old has qualified for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul for the third successive year. She achieved the honor of being the first Chinese player to qualify for singles in 2011, and this year will be bidding to advance past the round-robin stage of the competition for the first time.