Serena Williams: Sportswoman of the Year
In December, Sports Illustrated named tennis star Serena Williams “Sports Person of the Year.” Williams was the first solo female athlete to earn this accolade since distance runner Mary Decker in 1983.
Williams’ childhood revolved around tennis, starting at age three, when her parents started coaching her. By age nine, she was enrolled in Rick Macci’s prestigious Tennis Academy in Florida. By age ten, she had compiled a 46-3 record with the United States Tennis Association junior tour, and was ranked number one among players ten and younger in Florida.
Williams went on to have an extraordinary professional tennis career. She has twenty one Grand Slam titles, one away from Steffi Graf’s Open Era Grand Slam Record, which she has the possibility of breaking this year.
In addition, Williams has captured four gold medals, 74 million dollars, and countless other awards. She is an exceptional athlete. Kyle Burton ’18 said, “I think Serena Williams is a really strong tennis player. She almost always comes out on top because she’s always mentally stronger than her opponents.” Elizabeth Halas ’18 said, “She’s a good player. I don’t follow tennis but I know she’s number one.”
2015 was an especially good year for Williams’ career. Throughout the year she was ranked number one in the country; she gained twice as many points as the player ranked second, Angelique Kerber. Besides sheer talent, though, Williams stands out because she is so fun to watch. Mira Arbonnies ’18 said, “I was watching her in the US Open a lot this past September. She kept diving for the ball and at one point did a full split. It was remarkable.”
Williams is also distinguished by her social awareness and activity. John Sandberg ’17 said, “She experienced racism at Indian wells in 2001, and boycotted the tournament for many years. However, she went back this year, and it sent a really big message. She does not support racism, but she doesn’t feel that it should hold anyone back in their athletic careers.” Alexandra McCraven ’17 said, “She is an inspiration to feminists in herself; it is really cool to see a female athlete generate so much fame and money. Also, she funds high schools in Kenya to give education opportunities to as many girls as possible, which is really cool.”
Ben Collier ’17 said, “She is by and far the most dominant athlete in women’s tennis. She almost had a perfect season. She consistently shows why she deserves the Sports Person of the Year award and seems poised to win it again this year.”