Maria Sharapova will become the new WTA World No.1 on Monday, June 11, following her semifinal victory over Petra Kvitova today at Roland Garros.
Sharapova, who grew up and trained at the IMG Academy Bollettieri tennis program, originally ascended to No.1 on August 22, 2005, becoming the first Russian woman to achieve this milestone. The Russian has held the top ranking for 17 non-consecutive weeks during her career. This is her fifth stint as No.1, a position she last held in June 2008.
Sharapova surpasses current No.1, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who topped the rankings for 19 weeks beginning January 30, 2012. Three players were in contention for the No.1 ranking at the start of Roland Garros: Azarenka, Sharapova and World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska. Following Azarenka’s fourth round loss to Dominika Cibulkova at Roland Garros, Sharapova needed to reach the final to secure the top ranking.
“It’s such an amazing feeling to be back in the position of being No.1 in the world. I had the joy of holding the No.1 trophy many years ago,” said Sharapova. “Since then, I’ve gone through the injury and come back, and to be holding it a few years later is a huge achievement for me. It’s a special day and I hope I can keep the ranking for a long time.”
“Maria has once again proven what an extraordinary champion and fighter she is in regaining the WTA World No. 1 ranking,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO of the WTA. “Her will to win and ability to overcome obstacles has made her one of the game’s great ambassadors, an inspirational icon and a one of the world’s most popular athletes.”
Sharapova has won two titles so far in 2012, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (Stuttgart) and Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), and finished runner-up at the Australian Open (l. Azarenka), BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells (l. Azarenka) and Sony Ericsson Open in Miami (l. Radwanska). Her tally of career titles now stands at 26, placing her fourth among active players behind Venus Williams (43), Kim Clijsters (41) and Serena Williams (41). She has now won at least one title each year since 2003, the 6th best streak in WTA history.
On Saturday, June 9, Sharapova will aim to burnish her No.1 status by winning her first Roland Garros title. Victory in the final would see the Russian become just the 10th woman to achieve a career Grand Slam (6th in Open Era). Were Sharapova to win her fourth Grand Slam singles title, the 25-year-old would sit in joint 12th place on the Open Era list of Grand Slam winners, along with Kim Clijsters, Hana Mandlikova and Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario.
SHARAPOVA’S PREVIOUS WEEKS AT WORLD NO.1
|August 22-August 28, 2005||1|
|September 12-October 23, 2005||6|
|January 29-March 18, 2007||7|
|May 19-June 8, 2008||3|