Serena dethrones Sorenstam as women's biggest earner
Fri, Jan 30, 2009

MELBOURNE (AFP) - - Australian Open finalist Serena Williams has deposed golfing legend Annika Sorenstam as the all-time career prize money leader in women's sport, the WTA Tour announced Friday.

The American moved to the top of the bank balance sheets by advancing to the singles final here with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Russia's Elena Dementieva and also by reaching the doubles final with sister Venus.

Ahead of the two finals, Williams has earned 22,725,475 US dollars, overtaking the now-retired Sorenstam who had held the record for career earnings with a total of 22,573,192 dollars.

"I'm thrilled with the news. I remember earning my first cheque of 240 dollars at Quebec City in 1995 and while I knew that I could have a great career in tennis, I could not have imagined or dreamed of all of this," said Williams.

"It's amazing how much women's tennis has grown since I joined the Tour fourteen years ago. I am very proud to have reached this milestone for me, my family and all women athletes out there. This achievement really shows that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything."

Williams turned professional at the age of fourteen in November 1995 and played her first tournament in Quebec City, Canada.

In her 14-year career she has won every major title in addition to nine Grand Slams, becoming only the sixth woman, other than Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, to achieve such a feat.

Of the current players, only Serena's older sister Venus comes close to such an achievement, with seven Grand Slam singles titles to her name.

Serena was a winner at the US Open in 1999, at 2002 Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the US Open and 2003 Australian Open, each time beating Venus; 2003 Wimbledon, once again defeating sister Venus, in Australia in 2005 and 2007, and at the 2008 US Open.

In addition, Williams won two Olympic Gold medals, both playing doubles with Venus - in Sydney in 2000 and Beijing in 2008.

She holds 32 singles titles and 14 doubles titles.

She passed the one million dollar mark at the 1999 Roland Garros, later exceeding the 10 million mark in 2002 and the 20 million mark in 2008, both at the WTA Championships.

Serena faces Russia's Dinara Safina for the Australian Open title on Saturday.

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