Serena is first to qualify for end-of-season WTA finals in Singapore
Record-breaking world No. 1 sets another milestone
World No. 1 Serena Williams added yet another record to her glittering tennis resume by becoming the earliest qualifier in the history of the end-of-season BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
The 2015 Australian and French Open champion, who is bidding for a rare calendar Grand Slam, booked a spot at the eight-woman championship in Singapore, still more than three months away, after her gripping Wimbledon third-round win over Britain's Heather Watson.
According to the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), Williams, who beat Simona Halep in the final here last year, is the fastest qualifier for the prestigious championship since the format was revamped in 2003.
EXCITED TO BE BACK
"I'm really thrilled to be the first player to qualify for the WTA Finals and I can't wait to return to Singapore to defend my title," Williams said, in a WTA statement released yesterday, hours before she took on big sister Venus in the fourth round on Centre Court at SW19.
"Last year was my first time visiting Singapore and I really enjoyed myself - the crowd is amazing and I'm excited to be going back."
The 33-year-old American, who beat big sister Venus 6-4, 6-3 last night, has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles and trails only Steffi Graf (22) and Margaret Court (24) in the all-time list.
She had held the top spot in the rankings for 124 consecutive weeks and is the oldest woman to hold the position since the rankings were introduced in 1975.
WTA chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster was full of praise for Williams, who will be bidding for a sixth WTA Finals title on her 10th appearance when the action gets underway at the Sports Hub Singapore Indoor Stadium from Oct 23 to Nov 1.
"Serena is once again inspiring our fans with another historic season and I congratulate her on becoming the first player to secure her place," Allaster said.
"I am thrilled for our fans in Singapore that they will have an opportunity to watch one of the greatest players to ever play women's tennis."
Last year, the WTA Finals in Singapore saw the highest attendance, TV viewing and online audiences at the 10-day competition, which crowns the best women's player of the season.
The 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global will be held at the Indoor Stadium from Oct 23 to Nov 1. Tickets for the general public start at $16.90 and can be purchased through Sports Hub Tix www.sportshub.com.sg/WTAFinals. Log on to the WTA Finals website www.WTAFinals.com for more information and follow on Twitter (@WTAFinalsSG) and Facebook (facebook.com/ WTAFinalsSG).