American tennis star Serena Williams completed her climb back to the top of the tennis world at the US Open, ending a five-year hiatus between stints as the world’s No 1 player.
It was a double-dip victory for Williams who beat Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-5 in the US Open women’s singles championship on Sunday to win the title and the battle for the world number one ranking.
Williams spent 57 weeks at number one between July 2002 and August 2003.
Winning her third US Open title has Williams yearning for more Grand Slams and more weeks at No 1.
“It doesn’t stop here,” Williams said. “I feel like I have a new career, like I feel so young and I feel so energised to play every week and to play every tournament.
“I feel like there’s just so much that I can do in my career and I’ve never felt like I’ve played my best tennis.”
The 26-year-old American now hopes to join the select group of players who have won 10 or more career Grand Slam titles.
“This is cool because I am at number nine,” Williams said. “I’m pushing the doors closer to double digits which is obviously what I want to get to.” With three single’s title and no majors, Williams needed to win a Grand Slam to validate her season. “It makes up for the Wimbledon loss,” Williams said. “This is exciting because I knew when the year started I was going to have a really busy summer. I kept thinking, how am I going to get through all these tournaments?”
With no clear cut favourite on the WTA Tour, Williams is the latest in a string of players to hold the women’s top ranking this season. Jankovic was No 1 for one week last month before Ana Ivanovic regained the top spot.
Williams hopes to step into the void left by the departure on the women’s tour of former world number ones Justin Henin and Kim Clijsters.
Clijsters or Henin had reached the final of the US Open in the past three years while Williams was making her first trip back to the final in six years.
Part of the reason for that is that Williams had been distracted by other interests, leading her taking time off from tennis. She played just 44 matches in 2005 and 2006. She also took time off in 2003 to mourn the death of her sister, Yetunde, who was shot and killed in the crime-plagued south Los Angeles neighbourhood the Williams sisters lived in until their father moved them at a young age to Florida to learn tennis. Williams says her revival on the court this year is the result of hard work and believing in herself.