MORE THAN 15 years after she reigned supreme at the top of the women's doubles rankings, Swiss tennis great Martina Hingis has reclaimed the world no.1 rank.
The 35-year-old has joined doubles partner Sania Mirza as co-World No.1 in the latest Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings released here on Saturday.
With the Australian Open starting here on Monday, the development is expected to be a major boost for Sania and Hingis. The Indo-Swiss combination have just won the Sydney International title -- their 11th trophy since coming together around a year ago.
Hingis had spent 35 weeks at the top of the doubles pile earlier in her career. Her reign as the world no.1 came in six stints -- from June 8 to August 2, 1998 (eight weeks), August 17 to October 25, 1998 (10 weeks), November 2-22, 1998 (three weeks), June 7 to July 4, 1999 (four weeks), August 2 to 22, 1999 (three weeks) and January 31 to March 19, 2000 (seven weeks).
She will now begin her 36th career week at the top, while Mirza earns her 41st.
"It's a really nice feeling having that No.1 ahead of your name. It's definitely something I was aiming for, and with Sania I felt like I had the opportunity to get there. When she became No.1 in Charleston I was just as happy as when I did it myself," Hingis was quoted as saying by the WTA.
"Being the No.1 team for the last 10 months -- we've proven it with two Slams and the WTA Finals in Singapore - we definitely belong there. It was just a question of time to get that No.1 ranking.
"I'm so happy for her that 16 years later she's become No.1 again!" Mirza, who first rose to No.1 last April, commented. "But regardless of what the ranking was, we were the No.1 team in the world," she added.
"I'm so happy that we're together now not just as the No.1 team, but as individuals as well."
The Swiss-Indian duo is on a 30-match winning streak that has brought them seven straight titles at the US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing and WTA Finals in 2015, and Brisbane and Sydney this year.
They'll take that streak -- the longest since 1990 -- into the Australian Open this fortnight.