Welcome back, Serena: Williams in WTA Top 10 for first time as mother

Though she didn’t play last week, Serena Williams moved back into the Top 10 for the first time since becoming a mom in the latest WTA rankings, released Monday morning.

When Caroline Wozniacki, No. 10 in last week’s rankings, pulled out of the Qatar Total Open in Doha due to illness, it ensured she would drop out of the Top 10. Serena, who was No. 11, took Wozniacki’s spot.

Serena’s return to the Top 10 is noteworthy given that she’s only played eight tournaments since returning to the game full time, and 3,270 of her 3,406 ranking points—96 percent—have come from just four tournaments: the Grand Slams. She earned 240 points for reaching the fourth round of the French Open, 1,300 points for reaching the Wimbledon final, 1,300 points for reaching the US Open final and 430 points for reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals.

Serena boasts a 19-3 record at the Grand Slams since coming back, but is just 3-4 at all other events.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion’s next scheduled tournament is the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, which is where she made her return to WTA competition as a mother 11 months ago.

“From the first tournament back I was thinking I should win, but that’s not practical,” Serena said during her run in Melbourne, when she was 10 months into her comeback. “I know there’s a lot of things that I need to do, a lot of things I need to do to get better. Maybe I just need more matches. As close as I want to say that I’m there, I know that there’s a lot more that I need to do to get there.

“It’s 10 months, soon to be 11 months, soon it will be 12 months—it just takes time.”

She’ll be trying to win in Indian Wells for the third time in her career, having won it in 1999 and 2001.

Serena is now the first mom to reach the Top 10 since Kim Clijsters on October 10, 2011.

As for Serena, her last day in the Top 10 was on July 10, 2017.

It’s been almost 20 years since Serena first broke into the Top 10, on April 5, 1999. It came as a result of her breakthrough run to the final of Miami, which she would lose to sister Venus.

The former No. 1, who will begin her 793rd career week in the Top 10 on Monday, has one goal, though.

“The big picture for me is always winning. I’m not going to lie about that. It hasn’t happened yet, but I feel like it’s going to happen. Just keep taking it one match at a time, just keep soldiering on, I guess.”

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