Serena Williams: Best is now No.1 too
An emotional Serena Williams returned to the top of women's tennis, overcoming a series of potentially career-ending injuries since 2010 to become the oldest woman to hold the No. 1 ranking. The 31-year-old Williams rallied from 4-1 down in the third to beat former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open. She needed to reach the semifinals to replace Victoria Azarenka at No. 1 when the rankings come out next week. Williams held up one finger after clinching the match with an ace and wiped away the tears as she addressed the cheering crowd.
"I never thought I would be here again," Williams said. "Oh my gosh, I've been through so much. I never thought I would be here." Chris Evert held the top ranking in 1985 just shy of her 31st birthday.
It has been a long journey back to the top for Williams. Shortly after winning Wimbledon in 2010, she cut her feet on broken glass while on her way out of a restaurant in Germany. That led to two operations on her right foot. Later, she had blood clots in her lungs and needed to inject herself with a blood thinner. She needed to go to the hospital when those shots led to a pool of blood under her skin.
Williams lost the top spot to Caroline Wozniacki in 2010 and tumbled down the rankings. But she made a comeback worthy of a No. 1 in 2012, winning Wimbledon, the Olympic gold medal, the U.S. Open and the season-ending WTA championships. She lost only one match in 2012 after her first-round exit at the French Open.
"There were often times that I never thought I'd play again. Then I thought I'd never be able to win tournaments or Grand Slams," Williams said. "No. 1 was so far off. I mean, it was always a dream, but, you know, I was No. 1 when tragedy struck, and it was just an awful thing to happen. So I'm happy that I'm back."