Serena Williams Beats Novak Djokovic And Others To Win SI’s Sportsperson Of The Year For 2015

by Tom Gainey | December 14th, 2015, 10:08 am

Serena Williams has been named Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Sportsperson of the Year, the magazine announced earlier this morning.

“This year was spectacular,” said Serena Williams. “For Sports Illustrated to recognize my hard work, dedication and sheer determination with this award gives me hope to continue on and do better. As I always say, it takes a village— not just one person. This is not just an accomplishment for me, but for my whole team and all my fans. I am beyond honored.”

Serena finished 2015 with a 53-3 record falling just 2 wins from a Calendar Grand Slam at the US Open.

Serena beat out Triple Crown-winning horse American Pharoah, the NBA’s Steph Curry and even Novak Djokovic for the top honor. The award usually goes to an American sports figures often as a career service honor, not for a single year.

Serena becomes the fourth player to win the Sportsperson of the Year after Arthur Ashe in 1992, Chris Evert in 1976 and Billie Jean King in 1972.

“Serena has made a very strong case as not only the greatest tennis player of her generation but of all time, and after the string of performances she put together in 2015, she is one of the most dominant athletes playing today,” said Sports Illustrated Group Editor Paul Fichtenbaum. “Her extraordinary accomplishments on and off the court this year made the most deserving candidate for this award and also brought about the perfect opportunity to officially designate it as the Sportsperson of the Year moving forward.”

Added Scott Price who wrote the Serena feature: “In 2015 Williams hit this rare sweet spot, a pinch-me patch where the exotic became the norm … [her] numbers are reason enough for Sports Illustrated to name Serena Williams its 2015 Sportsperson of the Year. But the numbers lie. Her tennis year was all internal discord and quelled revolts; Williams battled her body like never before … But she refused to buckle … It’s an old saw that a nation gets the president it deserves. Maybe the same goes for its champions. No other active U.S. athlete rules a sport the way Serena Williams rules hers, and few reflect our era better.”

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21 Comments for Serena Williams Beats Novak Djokovic And Others To Win SI’s Sportsperson Of The Year For 2015

Ben Pronin Says:

Wow, congrats to her.

RZ Says:

Congrats to Serena and nice to see tennis get an Si Sportsperson recognition for once.

I read some of the write-ups for the nominees, and felt that those who wrote about Serena (Jon Wertheim and others) made a compelling case for her.

RZ Says:

Serena looks amazing on the cover, but couldn’t they have put an athletic pic rather than a sexy one? It’s a sports award by a sports magazine after all. (This is my general gripe with Sports Illustrated. When they do the annual Bodies issue, most of the men are in athletic poses but most of the women are sitting or lying around.)

jane Says:

what a cool cover, but you make a good point RZ!! we’d never see a male athlete posed like that. or very unlikely anyhow.

congrats to serena; she’s an inspiration.

(i feel sort of glad to see the award didn’t go to a horse, although i love horses.)

Giles Says:

Rest assured an American has more chance ( about 99%) of winning this Award. Well done Serena.

Gypsy Gal Says:

Well done Serena,she looks fantastic,im a woman but those legs are gorgeous….

BBB Says:

RZ – it’s my gripe with SI too. I think this cover was wildly inappropriate. Says:

Congratulazioni a Serena ma meritava di vincere Novak Djokovic.

django Says:

They should put Serena in the swimsuit edition. 😃

skeezer Says:

Congrats Serena!

Giles Says:

django. That’s going a stretch too far me thinks.

elina Says:

Cograts to Serena.

Her advantage over Novak? She’s American. Big surprise.

Chrisford1 Says:

If you look at tennis players, the last time one got this award purely for play in sports that year was Chris Evert back in 1976 – 40 years ago. The long retired Arthur Ashe rode a wave of AIDS sympathy and NYC mayor Doug Wilders deification of Ashe as a “symbol” to all groups he met, inc the NYC-based SI exec staff. So he got the SI award for Sportsman of the Year in 1992.

Serena, the 1st tennis player winning on performance vs. political merits in 40 years, deserves this. She had a stellar year though the field was weak, and 2015 was of course part of an impressive body of work that led her to make new career records. She also completed a non-calendar year Grand Slam in 2015 at Wimbledon.
Of course some politics crept in – she comes from a country America hasn’t bombed yet, she is an empowered black female role model….
But I’d like to think her performance in sports alone made her quite worthy of this.
And tennis was overdue.
And thank god SI was not stupid enough to give it to a horse.

Chrisford1 Says:

On the whole “female exploitation” thang….
Serena happens to be a woman whose features & body type appeals to a certain very large demo of males. She LIKES that. And likes being depicted in photos as proof that stocky, super curvey, heavily muscled women can be both sexy and outrageously good athletes in tennis.
I suspect her preference was SI running this sort of photo vs. the usual stock “athlete” photos of her angry or elated, hunched over with fists clenched in a mouth wide open scream.
I suspect the female and gay male commenters a bit huffy about the SI picture selection would incline for a picture more like Serena’s as their opening Facebook pic – not them bent over dripping sweat and dirty doing some physical task.

J-Kath Says:

Jane – You gave me a chuckle ….”go to a horse” – good to laugh…

mat4 Says:

His conclusion is:

“The Serb outright demolishes Williams in every statistical category in 2015 and the nice thing is that neither of them is a horse, so it is very easy to make the comparison. I guess Djokovic needed to give out more chocolates to the press to get any love.”

django Says:

Mat,he needed to be American.They usually don’t pick foreigners.

Frank Vasquez Says:

Novak Djokovic.

Lodhi Says:

There is no greater happiness in the world than to be congratulated by skeezer.

(Abraham Lincoln)

danica Says:

Congrats to Serena!
She looks amazing on that cover.

Phew, I thought I would be the only one voting against the horse. After reading the comment section of SI a few days ago, I was sure the world has gone mad finally.

As for Nole vs. Serena in this year SI competition, everything pointed out to Serena. Nole had no chance because this award represents something other than honoring pure performance during a calendar year. And she is an American. Case closed.

I don’t even know why there us fuss about this award here. SI is just a sports magazine somewhere. I am sure no one cares in, say, France for this award when they have L’Equipe to give the similar award. Or, (there’s) Sports Life in Spain for that matter, or… name a country.

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