London - World number one Serena Williams added yet another record to her
glittering tennis resume by becoming the earliest qualifier for the
end-of-season WTA Finals.
The 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 Wimbledon third round win over Britain's
"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 on Monday.
"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 plays her big sister Venus in the fourth round
of the grass court championships later on Monday, has won 20 grand slam singles
titles and trails only Steffi Graf (22) and Margaret Court (24) in the all time
She had held the top spot in the rankings for 124 consecutive weeks and was
the oldest woman to hold the position since the rankings were introduced in
1975, the WTA said.
The body said Williams was the fastest qualifier for their prestigious
championship since the format was revamped in 2003.
WTA chairwoman 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 Singapore's Sports Hub from Oct. 23-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,"
"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