Serena Williams is opted as the Sports Illustrated, a popular magazine’s, Sportsperson of the Year. She is the first female athlete, honored by the magazine, for the last 30 years.
Williams went 53-3 during 2015 with 5 titles, including the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. Williams was No. 1 in the WTA rankings all season.
Speaking on the occasion, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group, Paul Fichtenbaum said, “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. She was a terrific candidate in a year of terrific candidates.”
Speaking about Williams cover photo on the magazine, managing editor, Christian Stone wrote on SI.com, “her idea, intended... to express her own ideal of femininity, strength, power.”
In the past, the award recipients were touted as Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Year, based on their gender. But this time, a formal name called ‘Sportsperson’ is adopted, for which, Wiliams would be the first person to be awarded with this recognition.
Expressing his opinion, Fichtenbaum said, “We just felt this was a natural evolution... We’re not making a huge deal out of it. It just feels like the right time to make the change.”
In 1983, runner Mary Decker was the last female athlete to earn the magazine’s award by herself. After more than 30 years, it is now Williams was awarded.
Fichtenbaum said that more than men’s sports, there is a more focus on the women sports now. “I am not sure of why women’s sports influence is growing considerably in the recent times,” he said.
By Phani Ch