Serena Williams lands historic Sports Illustrated award

SERENA Williams is Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year – the first female athlete honoured on her own by the influential US magazine in more than 30 years.

Serena Williams is the first solo female winner of the Sports Illustrated award for over 30 years. Picture: AFP/Getty

Williams came within two matches of tennis’ first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1988, a bid that ended with a semi-final loss at the US Open.

In all, the 34-year-old American won 53 and lost three during 2015, clinching five titles, including the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Williams was No 1 in the WTA rankings all season.

The magazine cover. Picture: Contributed

“She was the most deserving person for the award. She had an amazing year.

“The way she won her events; the fact that she’s done this for so many years at such a high level,” said Paul Fichtenbaum, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group.

Runner Mary Decker in 1983 was the last female athlete to earn the magazine’s award by herself.