AT 31-YEARS-OLD Serena Williams has become the oldest female competitor to be ranked as tennis’ number one player.
The American claimed top spot in the latest Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings that were released on February 18.
Williams first became world number one in July 2002 but it is the first time that the 15-time Grand Slam winner has topped the WTA rankings since October 2010.
Fellow American Chris Evert, then 30, previously held the record of being the oldest woman to be named as the number one tennis player in the world in 1985.
Williams’ ranking is thoroughly deserved after winning Wimbledon, Olympic singles and doubles gold and the US Open in 2012.
Speaking at last week’s Qatar Open, Williams - who has suffered with several injuries in recent years - said: "I never thought I would be here again.
"I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to get back to number one. 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."
WTA chief executive Stacey Allaster added: "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.
"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 number one ranking."
Britain’s Heather Watson remains as the highest ranked female from the UK at number 41.