Age ain’t nothing but a number for Serena Williams who has managed to defeat many of the younger tennis stars in order to grab a hold of the number one spot in the women’s world tennis rankings.
It’s been quite the journey for Williams, who has suffered several career threatening injuries over the past few years. Despite the injuries and even the times she doubted her own capabilities, Williams will be named number one again after her victory over former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Friday.
After she claimed victory, her emotions took over and she immediately began crying as she realized she had achieved what she thought was impossible at one point.
“I never thought I would be here again,” she said to the cheering crowd as she wiped away her tears. “Oh, my gosh, I’ve been through so much. I never thought I would be here.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the tennis icon and you’re picturing an 80-year-old woman grabbing victory over women less than half her age you’re being a bit dramatic (and possibly just created a pretty interesting movie pilot).
Serena is only 31-years-old, but in the world of sports it’s as if everyone’s age is multiplied by two. Athletes usually retire before they even hit 40, which means retirement could possibly be in Williams’ near future but for now victory is all she can see.
“I have nothing else to do,” she said after being questioned of retirement. “I’m still pretty good at tennis so why not? I’d just rather not sit at home all day.”
Of course, “pretty good” is quite the understatement because Williams is proving to ever player on the tennis court that isn’t anywhere near time to count her out.
Venus Williams’ sister beat the previous age record by only a few months. Chris Evert was 30-years-old when she became the oldest woman to be top ranked back in 1985.
Several decades later, the record has finally been broken and the record breaker herself finds it hard to grasp.
“There were often times that I never thought I’d play again,” she explained. “Then I thought I’d never be able to win tournaments or Grand Slams. 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.”
Her doubts that she would return to victory weren’t because she was worried about her age, however. It was the injuries she would sustain back to back over the years that had her worried about if she would make a full recovery.
From severely cutting her foot on glass while she was leaving a restaurant in Germany that required her to get stitches to having a blood clot in her lungs that later turned into a pool of blood just underneath her skin after a mishap with self-injected blood thinners, she never thought she would be able to overcome her injuries.
Well, the Olympic gold medalist is back in action and is preparing to face the very woman that she stripped the number one spot from – Victoria Azarenka.
She will face the former number one in the final of the Qatar Open and after and admittedly inconsistent performance against Kvitova, she is aware that she definitely has some work to do.
In the past she has only been defeated by Azarenka once out of their 12 previous matches, but she doesn’t want that to convince her that she has this game in the bag.
Meanwhile, Azarenka is busy sizing up Serena as well and preparing for that amazing serve that often leads her to victory.
“We all know she has a great serve,” the former no. 1 said of Williams. “She’s really aggressive and really consistent. So for me it’s important to just focus on myself and execute my game.”
*Update via Yahoo Sports*
Azarenka topples Serena to defend Qatar title.
Defending champion Victoria Azarenka beat Serena Williams 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-3 to win the Qatar Open on Sunday, earning her 16th title and ending a 10-match losing streak against the American.
Azarenka on her win: ”It feels incredible. You know, this tournament is really great. … It had such a strong field going into it, and I’m really glad that in the end of the week I’m the one who’s holding the trophy.”
Williams on her loss: ”I’m definitely not happy, but I’m No. 1,” she said, smiling. ”It was such a long journey, and after winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and the (WTA) Championships, I thought, I just don’t think I can win anymore. I don’t know what it takes to be No. 1. So it was awesome to come here and achieve that goal.”