Tennis star Serena Williams has been named the Associated Press’ Female Athlete of the Decade.
She was chosen on Saturday by AP sports editors and beat writers.
Williams is the most successful female tennis player, having won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, more than anyone else in the sport’s professional era.
According to AP, more than half came between 2010-19: four at Wimbledon, three apiece at the U.S. Open and Australian Open, two at the French Open. That includes a run of four in a row from the U.S. Open in 2014 through Wimbledon in 2015, and her second self-styled “Serena Slam.”
In all, she was in the final of 19 of the 33 majors she entered during the decade.
Apart from that, Williams was the runner-up seven times at major tournaments over the past decade, including four of the seven she’s entered since returning to the tour after having a baby in 2017.
“When the history books was written, it could be that the great Serena Williams is the greatest athlete of all time… I lie to call it eh “Serena Superpowers’ – that champion’s mindset. Irrespective of the adversity and the odds that are facing her, she always believes in herself,” said Stacy Allaster, CEO of the WTA from 2009-15 and now chief executive for professional tennis at the U.S. Tennis Association, which runs the U.S. open.
“Whether it was health issues; coming back; having a child; almost dying from that – she has endured it all and she is still in championing form,” Allaster said. “Her records speak for themselves.”
Williams amongst her many grand slam titles has reached at least one Slam final every year, a streak that dates back to 2007; won gold medals in singles and doubles at the 2012 Olympics with her sister, Venus; became the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam singles trophy in the professional era; became the oldest No.1 in WTA history and equaling Steffi Graf’s record for most consecutive weeks atop the rankings and leading the tour with 37 singles titles, 11 more than anyone else in the decade.
Finishing in second place was gymnast Simone Biles. Speaking after her nomination, Biles said of Serena; “She [has] been my idol growing up.”
“She remained humble, she stayed true to herself and her character and I think that’s really neat about an athlete,” Biles said. “Once you start winning, some get cocky, but she stayed true to herself, win or lose,” she added.