Florida’s Serena Williams was named the Female Athlete of the Decade after a vote by Associated Press member sports editors and beat writers.
From 2010-19 the younger Williams sister collected 12 Grand Slam titles, nine more than her nearest WTA tour competitor, and spent 3-1/2 consecutive years at No. 1.
Serena Williams has been voted the AP Female Athlete of the Decade. Williams won 12 of her professional-era record 23 Grand Slam singles titles over the past 10 years. No other woman won more than three in that span. https://t.co/UROapQ1hFk
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 28, 2019
Gymnast Simone Biles, the 2019 AP Female Athlete of the Year, finished second to Williams in the voting for the decade honor, followed by swimmer Katie Ledecky. Williams won the AP Female Athlete of the Year award five times in 2002, ’09, ’13, 15 and ’18.
“Whenever I lose, I get more determined, and it gives me something more to work toward,” Williams said in a 2013 interview with the AP. “I don’t get complacent, and I realize I need to work harder and I need to do better and I want to do better — or I wouldn’t be playing the game.”
From 2010-19 she won four Wimbledon singles titles, three at both the US Open and Australian Open, and two at arguably the most demanding Slam, the French Open. Since having her first child in 2017 she has finished runner-up in four of the seven Slams she has competed in.
One of 2 Associated Press ATHLETES of the decade. Thank you! 🤷🏿♀️💋 pic.twitter.com/U5BwYnj5YR
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) December 29, 2019
Among her other accomplishments are winning gold in singles and doubles (with sister Venus) at the 2012 Olympics, becoming the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam singles trophy in the Open Era (since 1968), becoming the oldest No. 1-ranked woman, and tying Steffi Graf’s record for most weeks at No. 1.
“You are Serena Williams! You know?” Williams said at Wimbledon in 2016 on pumping herself up when she feels low. “And it’s those moments that I have to just, like, come off and be like, ‘Serena, do you know what you’ve done? Who you are? What you continue to do, not only in tennis [but] off the court? Like, you’re awesome.'”
Stacey Allaster was CEO of the WTA from 2009-15 and is now chief executive for professional tennis at the USTA.
“When the history books are written, it could be that the great Serena Williams is the greatest athlete of all time,” she told the Associated Press. “I like to call it the ‘Serena Superpowers’ — that champion’s mindset. Irrespective of the adversity and the odds that are facing her, she always believes in herself.”