Serena Williams confirmed as oldest world number one

The 31-year-old American becomes the oldest ever woman to claim top spot following her run to the Doha final, moving 265 points clear of Azarenka with Russia's Maria Sharapova remaining third.

"I never thought I would be here again," she said tearfully to a cheering crowd after her victory over former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Friday was enough to guarantee her climb back to the top.

"Oh, my gosh, I've been through so much. I never thought I would be here."

Serena Williams
Serena Williams. Pic/ AFP

After winning Wimbledon and the US Open last year, Williams' total of Grand Slam titles has risen to 15, only three fewer than retired greats Martina Navratilova and Evert, who together are second on the all-time list behind Steffi Graf with 22.

1. Serena Williams (USA) 10590 pts (+1)

2. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 10325 (-1)

3. Maria Sharapova (RUS) 9715

4. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 7750

5. Na Li (CHN) 6130

6. Angelique Kerber (GER) 5400

7. Sara Errani (ITA) 4820

8. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 4510

9. Samantha Stosur (AUS) 3835

10. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 3570

11. Marion Bartoli (FRA) 3215

12. Nadia Petrova (RUS) 3000

13. Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 2896

14. Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 2701

15. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 2695

16. Sloane Stephens (USA) 2535 (+1)

17. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 2535 (-1)

18. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 2065

19. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 1950 (+1)

20. Julia Görges (GER) 1915 (-1)

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