DOHA, Qatar - Serena Williams will return to No.1 in the world on Monday, becoming the oldest woman to hold the top spot since the computer rankings were introduced in November 1975.
It will be the 31-year-old American's sixth stint at No.1 and will occur nearly 11 years after she first claimed the top spot.
"I never thought I would be here again," Williams said after her quarterfinal win over Petra Kvitova at the Qatar Total Open that assured her of the accolade. "I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to get back to No.1. 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."
"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," said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman & CEO. "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 No.1 ranking."
A stellar 2012 season saw Williams claim her 14th and 15th Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, gold medals in singles and doubles at the Summer Olympics in London and the title at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul. She finished the year with a 58-4 record and .935 winning percentage, the best single-season record since 2007 (Justine Henin, 63-4, .940).
Williams began the 2013 season by claiming the title at the Brisbane International, bringing her career tally to 47 - the most among active players and 10th-most all-time. She followed that up with a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open.
Williams first ascended to World No.1 on July 8, 2002 at 20 years old, spending a little over a year there. She returned to No.1 in September 2008 after a more than five year absence, which remains the longest gap between stays at No.1 in WTA history.
Williams will be 31 years, 4 months and 24 days old when she starts her sixth stint at No.1, surpassing Chris Evert as oldest No.1. She was 30 years, 11 months and 3 days old when she was last No.1 on November 24, 1985.
Serena's Weeks At No.1:
July 8, 2002-August 10, 2003: 57 weeks
September 8, 2008-October 5, 2008: 4 weeks
February 2, 2009-April 19, 2009: 11 weeks
October 12, 2009-October 25, 2009: 2 weeks
November 2, 2009-October 10, 2010: 49 weeks
February 18, 2013-?: 1 week (so far)
Serena Williams: 31 years, 4 months, 24 days (February 18, 2013)
Chris Evert: 30 years, 11 months, 3 days (November 24, 1985)
Martina Navratilova: 30 years, 9 months, 29 days (August 16, 1987)