December 22, 2009

AP names SERENA Female Athlete of the Year

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. "I'm just happy and blessed to even be playing seven years later. All this is a bonus, really," Williams said. "In 2002, I just was really dominant, and I think in 2009, I just brought that back. I kind of became that player again."

Runner-up in the AP voting was Zenyatta, who capped a 14-0 career by becoming the first female horse to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. Tennis' Kim Clijsters finished third with 16 votes.


Anonymous said...

so being mean nasty mouth and abusive to people who work the court you get female athlete of the year awards what a role model for little girls....

Rai. said...

Serena's a great role model. The accolades she's received are wonderful and it's also wonderful that you, anon, are miserable :)

RRice27927 said...

Hello "Anonymous,"

Let's be "objective" for a minute. While I did not agree with Serena's reaction to the alleged foot-fault, one must understand that the Athlete of the Year Award does not look at that one incident, but rather her body of work throughout the entire season. She won 2 Grand Slam Singles titles (Australian Open and Wimbledon), 4 doubles titles (3 of which were Grand Slam titles: Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open), she captured the Sony Ericsson Championships (Year-End Championship), and she ended the year ranked #1 in the World. Can you really deny her this honor based on what happened at the US Open? Like her or not, if you were to be honest about it, she is most deserving of this honor.

Anonymous said...

I´m so proud of Serena! She´s amazing. Yeah, well deserved win. Congrats to her.