Queen Serena Williams Named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year

Serena Williams, Queen of tennis, has officially claimed her title as Sportsperson of the Year.

Sports Illustrated announced the news this morning (Dec. 14) with the release of the Dec. 21, 2015 issue, for which she’s the gorgeous cover star. Williams is also the first female athlete in 30 years to be honored as the magazine’s Sportsperson of the Year, since track champion Mary Decker was named in 1983.

Williams had a stand-out year this year, with three Grand Slams (Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon) under belt, a 53-3 record and nabbing her seventh WTA Player of the Year award. Although she lost to Roberta Vinci in the US Open semifinals back in September, ending her chances of winning all four Grand Slams in a calendar year, Williams was ranked No. 1 throughout 2015 and made approximately $10 million on the court.

As ESPN noted, Williams had her best season this year since her first Serena Slam in 2002-03, and now has 21 career Grand Slam titles (just one behind Steffi Graf).   She said on Instagram:

This year was spectacular. For Sports Illustrated to recognize my hard work, dedication and sheer determination with this award gives me hope to continue on and do better. As I always say, it takes a village— not just one person. This is not just an accomplishment for me, but for my whole team and all my fans. I am beyond honored.

Editor of Sports Illustrated Group Paul Fichtenbaum added, “She was the most deserving person for the award. She had an amazing year. The way she won her events; the fact that she’s done this for so many years at such a high level. She was a terrific candidate in a year of terrific candidates.”

Meanwhile, American Pharoah, the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown, was the winner from the magazine’s online poll, taking 47%.

Last year San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner won the award. The woman who last received the honor was former Tennessee Volunteers women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, who shared the award with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in 2011.

[Sports Illustrated]