serena_williams.jpgWIMBLEDON, England (AP) _ Even with three of the last four Grand Slam titles in her possession, Serena Williams will stay behind No. 1 Dinara Safina when the WTA rankings are released Monday.


The second-ranked Williams beat older sister Venus in the Wimbledon final on Saturday, adding to the major championships she won at the U.S. Open in September and at the Australian Open in January. Still, Serena remains No. 2 in the rankings.

“My motivation is maybe just to win another Grand Slam and stay No. 2, I guess,'' she said after beating Venus 7-6 (3), 6-2 for her third Wimbledon title and 11th Grand Slam championship overall. “I'd rather definitely be No. 2 and hold three Grand Slams in the past year than be No. 1 and not have any.''

Safina rose to No. 1 in April. She lost to Serena in this year's Australian Open final, and then won titles in Rome and Madrid before falling to 0-3 in Grand Slam title matches by losing at that stage of the French Open last month. In the Wimbledon semifinals, the Russian was beaten 6-1, 6-0 by No. 3 Venus _ the most lopsided loss ever by a reigning No. 1 woman.

“Dinara did a great job to get to No. 1. She won Rome and Madrid,'' Serena said before rolling her eyes and laughing loudly.

Serena reached the quarterfinals at the French Open before losing to eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Players get ranking points by winning tour-level matches and can be rewarded for entering more tournaments.

Both Williams sisters spent time at No. 1, each first reaching that spot in 2002, but they dropped down the rankings after reducing the amount of tournaments they play. Serena got back to No. 1 last year and briefly this year.

“For several years now, at least three or four years, I just really wanted to focus on tennis, and I've really been doing that. I feel like this is where I want to be, and this is my chance to capitalize on everything,'' Serena said. “I really enjoy it. I even started playing more doubles because I enjoy being out on the court so much. I think it's pretty much all paying off.''

After Safina was routed by Venus at Wimbledon on Thursday, she defended the ranking system.

“Well, I've been in last four Grand Slams, I reach at least semifinal,'' Safina said. “I mean, they haven't been in the semifinal of the French Open. I think this is the result of how you play the whole year. It's not about one, two tournaments how you play. It's a result of tournament by tournament, day to day that you play.''

Venus was asked about the rankings after beating Safina.

“I respect Dinara Safina immensely, and I think you should, too,'' she replied.

Pictured above is Serena Williams.