ISTANBUL, Turkey - Victoria Azarenka will finish the 2012 season as the Women's Tennis Association's Year-End World No.1, presented by Dubai Duty Free, becoming the 11th different player to finish a season at No.1 in the world since the introduction of the computer rankings in November 1975.
Azarenka received the trophy, presented by Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Dubai Duty Free Salah Tahlak, during an on-court presentation at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul 2012.
Azarenka rose to No.1 in the world after capturing her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open this year. Aside from a four week period after Roland Garros where Maria Sharapova held the top ranking, Azarenka has been No.1 for 44 of the 52 weeks in 2012, through the week of December 24.
"It's just been an incredible year - I've had my two dreams come true," Azarenka said of the accolade. "To finish No.1 shows I've been playing really well throughout the whole year. To be a part of this history is just an incredible thing. When I first started to play tennis as a little girl, becoming No.1 in the world seemed so far away, and now I'm standing here and holding that trophy."
"Victoria has had a spectacular 2012 season and she joins an elite group by finishing the year as the WTA World No.1," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO of the WTA. "In a season that has included climbing to the pinnacle of the rankings, winning six singles titles including her first Grand Slam, and two Olympic medals, Victoria has been a true champion on and off the court."
"Dubai Duty Free congratulates Victoria on this tremendous achievement," said Mr. SalahTahlak. "To reach the WTA No.1 requires the commitment and talent of a true champion, and Victoria has earned this honor through her hard work and great play on the court. Dubai Duty Free has been a longstanding partner of the WTA and we are proud to align ourselves with the world's No.1 women's sport and through this award with the world's No.1 woman athlete."
Azarenka's stellar start to the season began with a 26-match winning streak, the best since 1997 when Martina Hingis won 37 straight. The streak yielded the Belarusian four titles: Sydney, the Australian Open, Doha and Indian Wells. She also achieved a 14-match winning streak after the US Open, picking up two more titles at Beijing and Linz. She is the first player to win two Premier Mandatory events in the same season since the Roadmap calendar reforms in 2009, and her career title tally now stands at 14, the fifth-most among all active players. Azarenka also enjoyed a successful summer, advancing to the Wimbledon semifinals and US Open final, in addition to winning two Olympic medals: the gold medal in mixed doubles and the bronze in singles.
Azarenka's on-court success this year will translate to a record-setting prize money mark as she becomes the first player in WTA history to surpass $7 million of prize money in a single season. Also, earlier this week she received the WTA Diamond Aces Award, presented to the player who consistently goes above and beyond in promoting the sport of women's tennis to fans, media, and local communities by performing off-court promotional and charitable activities.