06-24-2018  3:45 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
Published: 16 July 2012

(CNN) -- Roger Federer's reputation as one of the finest tennis players of all time was cemented on Monday, as the Swiss broke Pete Sampras' record for the most number of weeks at the top of the world rankings.

Federer returned to the No. 1 spot for the first time in over two years with a record-equaling seventh Wimbledon men's singles triumph, a victory which was also gave him an unparalleled 17th grand slam title.

The 30-year-old has now spent 287 weeks at the summit since turning pro in 1998, one more than 14-time grand slam winner Sampras managed between 1993 and 2000.

By comparison, Steffi Graf holds the women's record total of 377 weeks at No. 1, with Martina Navratilova second on 332.

"It is really an amazing feeling for me to have regained the No. 1 ranking," Federer said on the ATP Tour website.

"I had set a goal with my team to try to get back to the top of the rankings, but I never thought with the depth in the game this year that I would have been able to get it back so quickly.

"I am extremely proud and honored to have beaten Pete's record as he was my childhood hero and I have always looked up to him."

Sampras, who retired in 2002, congratulated Federer on his achievement.

"Great effort. The hardest thing to do in sports is the ability to stay on top. Roger has been able to do so by great play and durability," the American said.

Behind Federer and Sampras on the list are eight-time grand slam winners Ivan Lendl (270 weeks) and Jimmy Connors (268 weeks) while John McEnroe, a winner of seven major titles, was at the top for 170 weeks.

Despite dropping out of the top three in October 2011, Federer has still maintained his incredible run of reaching 33 grand slam semifinals in a row stretching back to the 2004 French Open.

Federer spent a record 237 consecutive weeks at No. 1 between February 2004 and August 2008, whereas Sampras only managed 102 weeks in a row.

One record Federer is yet to claim is that of the oldest man to win a major. Andre Agassi achieved that feat by winning the 2003 Australian Open at the age of 33 years and 131 days.

In the women's game, Wimbledon champion Serena Williams equaled older sister Venus' total of 43 WTA Tour titles by beating fellow American Coco Vandeweghe in Sunday's final of the Bank of The West Classic in California.

The dominant Williams sisters now share the record for the most tournaments won by players still active.

The 30-year-old Serena has won 28 of her last 29 matches and is now joint sixth on the all-time list of WTA Tour title winners.

The legendary Czech Martina Navratilova tops the list with 167 titles, ahead of American Chris Evert with 154.

Germany's Graf, the wife of Agassi, has 107, while Lindsay Davenport of the U.S. collected 55 titles during her career.

The Williams sisters are level with Switzerland's Martina Hingis and Justine Henin of Belgium.

For former world No. 1 Serena, her recent run of form comes off the back of a 2011 season which was blighted by life-threatening blood clots on her lung.

"I've never felt this fit, this strong, this happy to play -- and I think I can be even better," fourth-ranked Williams told the WTA Tour's website after her 7-5 6-3 win over the 20-year-old Vandeweghe, who made it into the main draw as a lucky loser from qualifying.

"I want to sustain this momentum and build on what I did at Wimbledon. I'm going to get back on the grass now for the Olympics -- I'm not sure when I'm heading back to London, but I'll do it as soon as I can."

Williams will be looking to win her third gold medal in the British capital, after clinching the doubles title alongside Venus at the 2000 and 2008 Games.

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