Dominant Serena Williams on Verge of No. 1 Record
by Jeremy Davis | February 11th, 2013, 1:33 pm

Serena Williams’ biggest rival on the star-lacking WTA Tour nowadays is her own body. And if the 31-year-old can stay uninjured during this week at the Qatar Open and reach the semifinals, she will reclaim the No. 1 ranking for the first time since 2010, and become the oldest player to rank No. 1.

The current record holder is Chris Evert, who was No. 1 in 1985 at age 30.

Currently ranked No. 2, the younger Williams sister has been ridiculously dominant against the current Top 5: No. 1 Victoria Azarenka (11-1 career head-to-head, 5-0 in 2012), No. 3 Maria Sharapova (10-2, 3-0 in 2012), No. 4 Aggie Radwanska (4-0) and No. 5 Li Na (6-1).

The only opposition that phases Serena are injury, and the sometimes-copious amount of body fat she carries around. But this year Serena showed up in Australia looking fitter than ever, and was the clear favorite to take the title until she went out to fellow American Sloane Stephens in a match that featured Serena coming in with an injured ankle, then tweaking her back during match.

“You know, just taking it one day at a time, basically,” she says of her current state of health this week. “So I will see how I feel after my first match.”

Three different women could emerge with the No. 1 ranking after the Qatar Open — Serena if she reaches the semis; the current No. 1 Azarenka if she reaches the final and Serena loses before the semis; or Sharapova if she wins the tournament, and Serena and Azarenka lose early.

“I think it will be a great feeling,” Williams said of possibly reclaiming the No. 1 ranking. “I obviously want it, but it’s not the only thing I want, so if it happens, great. If not, I won’t miss anything, I don’t think.”

The time-traveling Azarenka says she is not overjoyed about her head-to-head record against Serena, and looks forward to living in the future.

“Well, I’m not happy about it, I mean, that’s for sure,” Azarenka said of being 1-11 versus Serena. “I don’t really think about it that way, anyway. It’s in the past, and I never really look in the past. I make room for new memories in the future, to have my full focus, my full attention to live in the present and in the future.”


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11 Comments for Dominant Serena Williams on Verge of No. 1 Record

Humble Rafa Says:

Who is the woman in the picture?

Eric Says:

Serena Williams, has won more major titles in the last four years than Shrapova has won in her entire career. Maybe Maria should pick up “copious amount of weight” Serena is faster, and more agile than Azarenka,with all that copious amount of weight. You white people are pathetic with your silly obsession with women’s weight.

Grisham Says:

“You white people”

lol racist.

jamie Says:

Chris Evert was competing against another legend, Navratilova, winner of 18 slams.

Her #1 at age 30 is worth more than Serena’s #1 at age 30. The current WTA is the worst ever. No other legend to compete with Serena but a bunch of ballbashing headcases.

jamie Says:

Wozniacki was #1 without winning a slam. Same can eb said for Jankovic and Safina. Clown WTA era.

Alok Says:

No point in comparing Evert with Serena because Serena took off quite a lot of time from playing, while Evert played continuously.

jane Says:

It would be a great achievement for Serena.

But I do think Evert had stiffer competition for her 18 slams and during her career; she reached 34 slam finals – apparently more than any player male or female in professional tennis – and in slam finals she played Margret Court (holder of the most slams, full stop), Navratilova, one of the greatest (female) players ever with 18 slams, as well as Billie Jean King (12 GS), Steffi Graf (22 GS: for me one of the all time legends of the game, male or female). She also played people like Monica Seles (8 slams), Austin, Sabatini, Shriver, Fernandez during her years on tour.

Serena played her sister, Venus, for half of her slam titles, or in 8 of her 19 slam finals. Of course, Venus is a great champion like Serena, but they definitely know each other’s games well, having grown up practicing together and so forth. Other than Venus, probably Serena’s stiffest competition was Hingis (5 slams) who she beat for one slam and Henin (7 slams) who she beat for 1 slam. Next it would be Sharapova (4 slams) and Azarenka (2 slams). Other players (like Kuznetzova or Clijsters) have been solid competition but to my mind Evert played along side more greats of the women’s game through the years.

Dan Martin Says:

I think the debate between Serena and Evert is interesting for a number of reasons. I do think the depth of the women’s tour from players ranked 8-50 is far better today than when Evert played, but that the level of opponent in the final or semifinal round was much better when Evert played. Martina, Mandlikova, Graf toward the end of Evert’s career and Evonne G. in the earlier stages were not basket cases of nerves and inconsistency. Stosur or Safina are good examples of players who can look like great power players who will be fixtures at the top who then turn out to be vulnerable to terrible losses. The level of power in the game is drastically different today, but relative to the opposition at the time it seems like Evert had an easier time getting to a semifinal than most of today’s players would, but would have a stiffer opponent in the final more often than not.

Dan Martin Says:

I should add that Martina N. did have issues with nerves early in her career, but her hands at the net and serve made her a factor even when she had not yet mastered her emotions to a greater degree.

jamie Says:

Evert won at least one slam for 13 consecutive years. That is a record that will be hard to beat. Graf did it for 10 consecutive years. Borg, Sampras, Federer and Nadal did it for 8 consecutive years. Navratilova did it for 7 consecutive years.

jane Says:

^ That is a pretty amazing stat jamie; I didn’t know that.

Also good thoughts from Dan M on the discussion.

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