By The Associated Press
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic rose to No. 1 in the ATP rankings for the first time Monday, while Serena Williams dropped to 175th on the WTA list, her lowest spot since 1997.
Djokovic officially moved up from No. 2 one day after beating previously top-ranked Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 for his first title at the All England Club. It’s the first time in nearly 7½ years that a man other than Nadal or Roger Federer is ranked No. 1.
“Times are changing,” the 24-year-old Djokovic said Monday. “It’s good for the sport, I think, to have some new faces.”
Federer first took the top place on Feb. 2, 2004, and he or Nadal had been No. 1 every week since then. Federer spent a total of 285 weeks there, one week short of Pete Sampras’ record. Nadal’s latest stay began June 7, 2010, the day after he won last year’s French Open.
“They have made me improve,” Djokovic said. “They have made me a better player.”
Djokovic had been No. 2 since March. But he surged past Nadal by going 48-1 with eight titles so far in 2011, including Grand Slam trophies at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
When Djokovic arrived at the All England Club on Monday morning for a series of interviews, the ATP presented him with a cake shaped like a “1” in the red, blue and white colors of Serbia’s flag. He is the first man from that country to be No. 1 since the ATP introduced computer rankings in 1973.
Djokovic is the 25th player to reach No. 1.
“Any athlete in the world dreams of being No. 1 of the world. This is something that gives us a lot of motivation,” Djokovic said. “So finally, when you really do it, and when you know that you’re the best, it’s just an amazing achievement.”
Nadal is now No. 2. Federer remained at No. 3, followed by Andy Murray and Robin Soderling.
The man who upset Soderling in Wimbledon’s third round before losing to Djokovic in the quarterfinals, 18-year-old qualifier Bernard Tomic of Australia, leaped from 158th to a career-high 71st in the rankings.
Tomic was the youngest man to reach the quarterfinals at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament since Boris Becker won a second consecutive Wimbledon title in 1986.
Williams is a former No. 1 and a 13-time Grand Slam champion who was ranked 25th entering Wimbledon after missing nearly a full year because of a series of health scares. As the defending champion at the All England Club, though, Williams had a lot of rankings points to defend, so her loss to Marion Bartoli in the fourth round led to the 150-place slide Monday.
Williams hasn’t been this far down since the rankings of Nov. 3, 1997, when she was 304th. She moved into the top 150 the next week, and hadn’t fallen back outside that level until now.
Her older sister Venus, who also lost in the fourth round last week, went from 30th to 34th Monday, meaning that Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who stayed at 31st after a first-round Wimbledon exit, is the highest-ranked U.S. woman for the first time.
The last time someone other than one of the Williams sisters was the top American in the WTA rankings was January 2007, when Lindsey Davenport was ahead of them.
Caroline Wozniacki stayed at No. 1 on Monday, despite losing in the fourth round last week.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova rose one spot to No. 7, while runner-up Maria Sharapova also moved up one place, to No. 5.