Tennis Superstar Serena Williams Named Sportsperson of the Year
Williams dominates on the tennis court, whether defending her 21 Grand Slam singles titles or playing doubles with her older sister, Venus Williams. Her will to win is unmatched and Williams is known for fighting through injury and illness. In fact, her 2015 title at Roland Garros for the French Open was won despite battling the flu and a high fever. As Williams enters her mid 30s, knee and elbow injuries have slowed her down, but there appears to be no intention to stop.
The 2015 season also brought a brighter media spotlight to women’s tennis, thanks in part to Williams’ run at a second career “Serena Slam.” Defined by winning four consecutive Grand Slam titles, Williams headed into the U.S. Open with a shot at the calendar-year Serena Slam. Facing her sister, Venus, in the quarterfinals, the match was televised in prime time and received ESPN’s second highest rating ever for tennis. Williams ultimately was defeated in the semi-finals.
Williams is more than a tennis superstar. A new maturity has tempered Williams’ attitude over the last few years, and she has taken a step forward in using her visibility to champion racial justice and equality issues. A savvy businesswoman, Williams also has a sportswear clothing line, an ownership stake in the Miami Dolphins professional football team and celebrity endorsements with Chase and Gatorade, among others.
Serena Williams won 53 of her 56 tennis matches in 2015, and Forbes ranked her as 47th on a list of the World’s Highest Paid Athletes. Her 2016 season will start in Australia playing mixed doubles in the Hopman Cup with American Jack Sock, before the rigorous Grand Slam schedule begins again with the Australian Open. With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio also on her schedule, Williams will be representing her Sportsman of the Year title in several high-profile events.