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Serena Williams: 2009 AP Female Athlete Of The Year
HOWARD FENDRICH | 12/22/09 11:13 AM | AP
Playing her best at the most important events, Serena Williams re-established herself as the top player in women's tennis in 2009 and was a landslide choice as Female Athlete of the Year by members of The Associated Press.
Williams received 66 of 158 votes cast by editors at U.S. newspapers that are members of the AP. No other candidate got more than 18 votes in the tally, which was announced Tuesday.
Clearly, Williams' most infamous on-court episode – a tirade directed at a line judge after a foot-fault call near the end of her U.S. Open semifinal loss in September – didn't hurt her standing in the eyes of the voters.
"People realize that I'm a great player, and one moment doesn't define a person's career," Williams told the AP. "And I was right, for the most part: It wasn't right the way I reacted – I never said it was – but I was right about the call."
She also noted that the outburst, which resulted in a record fine and two-year probationary period at Grand Slam tournaments, "got a lot more people excited about tennis."
The 28-year-old American tends to do that, thanks to her powerful, athletic play and her outgoing personality.
"We can attribute the strength and the growth of women's tennis a great deal to her," WTA chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster said in a telephone interview. "She is a superstar."
Williams, who is based in Florida, also won the AP award in 2002, a seven-year gap that is the longest between AP Female Athlete of the Year honors since golf's Patty Berg won in 1943 and 1955.
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CONGRATULATIONS, Ms. Williams!!!
UPDATED with the info from Sports Illustrated.
From Sports Illustrated:
Some might argue that Williams, 28, is the best story in sports (notwithstanding her temper tantrum at the 2009 U.S. Open). Consider her accomplishments this decade: She won nine of her 10 Grand Slam singles titles and two Olympic gold medals in doubles (with her sister Venus), and she recently reclaimed the No. 1 ranking. She boasts the most powerful game in modern tennis, and she is best when the stakes are highest. Throw in the nearly $29 million in prize money -- most of it earned in the aughts -- and it's an improbable haul for a woman who was schooled in the game along with Venus by their father, the self-taught Richard, on pockmarked public courts in Compton, Calif.