"I'd rather be No. 2 and hold 3 Grand Slams than be No. 1 and not have any" - When Serena Williams took a dig at Dinara Safina's World No. 1 ranking

Dinara Safina (L) and Serena Williams (R)
Dinara Safina (L) and Serena Williams (R)

Serena Williams didn't mince words regarding Dinara Safina's World No. 1 ranking after triumphing at the Wimbledon Championships in 2009.

Williams is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, boasting 23 Grand Slam singles titles. Her remarkable accomplishments include an impressive seven Wimbledon titles and a reign of 319 weeks as the World No. 1.

The American won her third title at SW19 in 2009, triumphing over her sister Venus Williams in the final in straight sets. Despite her Wimbledon triumph, coupled with her titles at the Australian Open and the US Open over the previous 10 months, Serena Williams remained the World No. 2. Instead, it was Dinara Safina who held on to the top spot in the rankings.

During her post-match press conference, Williams was asked about her motivation to reclaim the World No. 1 ranking from Safina. In response, the American refused to express any urgency, citing her three Grand Slam titles as grounds for already being ranked at the top.

"You know, I’m not super motivated. I think if you hold three Grand Slam titles maybe you should be No. 1, but not on the WTA Tour obviously, so my motivation is just to win another Grand Slam and stay No. 2, I guess," Serena Williams said (via Inside Tennis).

She also emphasized her preference for having Grand Slam titles and being World No. 2 over holding the top spot without any Major titles, subtly taking a dig at Safina's lack of the same.

"No. If it did, I would go crazy just thinking about it. I think anyone really could. That’s just shocking. But whatever. It is what it is. I’d rather definitely be No. 2 and hold three Grand Slams in the past year than be No. 1 and not have any," she added.

Serena Williams then said Safina had earned the World No. 1 ranking by virtue of her victories in Rome and Madrid. However, the American burst into laughter after making the statement, seemingly mocking the Russian's accomplishments in contrast to her own.

"I see myself as No. 2. That’s where I am," she continued. "I think Dinara did a great job to get to No. 1. She won Rome and Madrid."

Serena Williams and Dinara Safina locked horns on seven occasions

Serena Williams defeated Dinara Safina in the 2009 Australian Open final
Serena Williams defeated Dinara Safina in the 2009 Australian Open final

Serena Williams and Dinara Safina faced off in seven tour-level encounters over the course of their careers. Williams dominated their rivalry, winning all but one of their clashes.

They first locked horns at the 2002 US Open, where the American claimed a commanding 6-1, 6-0 victory en route to her second title at the New York Major. She continued her dominance against the Russian in their two subsequent encounters, emerging victorious at the 2004 Beijing Open and the 2007 French Open.

Safina recorded her first and only victory over Williams in the 2008 Berlin quarterfinals. The American, however, won their next two meetings that year in straight sets, at the US Open and the WTA Tour Championships.

Their last meeting took place in the 2009 Australian Open final, where Serena Williams claimed a dominant 6-0, 6-3 victory.

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