Serena Williams Named AP's Female Athlete of Year

US Open tirade seems to not have influenced editors
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 22, 2009 1:37 PM CST
Williams wins AP Female Athlete of Year for 2nd time, Tuesday Dec. 21, 2009.   (AP Photo/Rick Stevens, File)

(Newser) – 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 the landslide choice as Female Athlete of the Year by members of the AP. She received 66 of 158 votes cast by editors; no other candidate got more than 18 votes in the tally. Williams also won the AP award in 2002. "I'm just happy and blessed to even be playing 7 years later," she says. "All this is a bonus, really."

Clearly, Williams' most infamous on-court episode—a tirade directed at a line judge after a foot-fault call near the end of her US Open semifinal loss in September—didn't hurt her standing in the eyes of the voters. Williams herself 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." Williams finished the year at No. 1 in the WTA rankings and topped $6.5 million in prize money, breaking the single-season tour record by more than $1 million.

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