BELARUSIAN VICTORIA AZARENKA has returned to the top of the women’s tennis rankings in place of Russia’s Maria Sharapova.
Azarenka was the world number one for 19 weeks earlier this season, before Sharapova secured the honour with her win at the French Open win in June.
But Azarenka’s run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon was enough to regain top spot, with Sharapova — who bowed out in the fourth round at the All England Club — dropping to number three in the WTA standings.
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska could have leapfrogged both Azarenka and Sharapova with a Wimbledon title, but had to settle for number two following her loss in the final to American 14-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.
Williams climbed two places to number four after claiming her fifth Wimbledon crown, ahead of Australian Samantha Stosur, who remains in fifth spot. Russian Maria Kirilenko was the biggest mover in the top 20, improving five places to 14th, while German Sabine Lisicki fell from 15th to 18th.
The only addition to the top 20 was Serbian Jelena Jankovic, who replaced Russia’s Nadia Petrova in 20th. Wimbledon champion Roger Federer reclaimed top spot in the men’s rankings, displacing Serbian Novak Djokovic, who slipped to second.
Federer has now equalled American Pete Sampras’ record of 286 weeks as world number one. At 30 years and 335 days, he is the second oldest player to hold the top ranking behind Andre Agassi (33 years and 131 days), and will usurp Sampras’ record next week.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who suffered a shock second-round Wimbledon loss to Czech Lukas Rosol, dropped one place to third. Nicolas Almagro of Spain was the only addition to the top 10, taking the position of American John Isner in 10th.