And Serena Makes Five...
ZÜRICH, Switzerland Serena Williams is the fifth player to qualify for the singles event at the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, set to take place in Madrid's Recinto Ferial Casa de Campo, November 6-11. By reaching the final of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Williams has assured herself of a berth in Madrid with 2766 points on the Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships standings, behind Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic.
For the 26-year old American the 2007 Sony Ericsson Championships marks the seventh time in her career she has qualified for the prestigious year-ending event. "I'm delighted and surprised to have made it to the Sony Ericsson Championships," said Williams. "When I started the year, I honestly never thought I would be in the position I am in now with a Grand Slam title under my belt and getting closer to playing some great tennis. I thought I missed my chance by not playing this summer but I have been really excited to be playing in Europe the last few weeks and I made it sooner than I thought. I am dying to visit Madrid, a city I have never been to before and making the Sony Ericsson Championships is a double bonus for me. It's going to be great!"
"Serena Williams made an incredible return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in 2007, captivating the tennis world again with her title runs at the Australian Open and Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. I don't think anyone would have forecast the kind of comeback she has put together, rising from No.140 last summer to qualifying as one of the elite eight singles players our season-ending event," said Larry Scott, Chairman & CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. "Serena is a true icon, someone who transcends our sport in many different ways and having her join the names already assembled brings even more entertainment to the Sony Ericsson Championships."
"With the best of the best coming together to battle it out for the Sony Ericsson Championships title, it is no surprise that we see Serena Williams as the next player to qualify. 2007 has been a great year for Serena, most recently reaching the final of the Kremlin Cup," said Dee Dutta, Global CVP and Head of Marketing at Sony Ericsson. "The Sony Ericsson Championships is all about being the very best; it's a week not to be missed and should be placed firmly on everyone's calendar."
"Having Serena is a dream come true. She is one of the best players ever and having her here in Madrid presents a great opportunity for fans to watch her," said Tournament Director and Spanish tennis legend Manolo Santana. "I am delighted to have her with us. Her comeback has been impressive and I am sure she will be fighting for the title."
Williams won her 28th career singles title to date at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, defeating current world No.1 Justine Henin 06 75 63, saving two match points, following her stunning January triumph at the Australian Open over then-incoming world No.1 Maria Sharapova 61, 62. That win garnered Williams her eighth Grand Slam singles title, coming two years after not having played a singles final of any kind and at No.81, she became the lowest-ranked player to win a Grand Slam title since 1978. This season she has been a quarterfinalist at the Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open, falling to Henin each time. In 2007, the American is second on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season earnings list with US$2.1 million in prize money to take her career earnings in excess $18 million (sixth all-time).
The Sony Ericsson Championships is one of the richest annual women's sporting events in the world. The tournament is the season-ending punctuation to an 11-month global Tour which finally gathers the Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the season to battle it out for a share of the $3-million prize purse. The event has been held in such notable venues as Madison Square Garden, New York, the Olympiahalle in Munich, Germany as well as The Forum and Staples Centre in Los Angeles since its inception in 1972. Former singles champions read like a who's who of women's tennis: Tracy Austin, Kim Clijsters, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini and Serena Williams. The title holders are Justine Henin (singles) and Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur (doubles).