Serena Williams has been named the Associated Press' Female Athlete of the Year after a dominant season in which she won the U.S. Open and French Open and finished No. 1 in the WTA rankings for the first time since 2009.
Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press broke the news:
Williams won 11 of the 16 singles tournaments she entered this season—a ludicrous win percentage given the individual and taxing nature of the sport. Her dominant run was highlighted by 34 straight wins in the middle of the season.
The 32-year-old Williams pieced together her most consistent season with 13 finals appearances en route to a 78-4 final mark and more than $12 million in prize money—a record for women's tennis. The French Open victory was the second of her career and the first since 2002, while her U.S. Open triumph was her fifth victory in the prestigious tournament.
The honor is the third time Williams has won the award, with her stellar 2002 and 2009 seasons giving her the nod over other candidates. Only two women (Chris Evert, Babe Didrikson Zaharias) have won the award more times than the tennis superstar.
This year Williams received 55 of 96 votes by news organizations. Williams' competition for the honor included Brittney Griner, the No. 1 overall pick by the Phoenix Mercury in the 2013 WNBA draft. Griner finished with 14 votes, while swimmer Missy Franklin finished in third place with 10, per the Associated Press via ABC News.
After a miraculous season 14 years removed from her first major title in 1999, Williams fully deserved the award and will undoubtedly return to pick up where she left off next season. She currently has 17 Grand Slam titles and needs just one more to move into a three-way tie for fourth place on the all-time list.