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CHOCO
Dec 27th, 2002, 06:33 AM
CONGRATULATIONS SERENA!!!!:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :) :) :)


Serena Named AP Female Athlete of Year


By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer


Serena Williams personifies intensity on a tennis court, right down to her routine for the prematch coin toss.

Up at the net, most players are blank canvases, cradling a racket and generally standing still during the formality. Not Williams. She whips her arm in a service motion over and over, her racket slicing the air -- Whoosh! Whoosh! -- in a display that's akin to shadowboxing during a referee's instructions in a ring.

Bringing that intimidation to every shot on every surface against every opponent (including, finally, her older sister) in 2002, Williams was simply dominant, winning three of the four Grand Slam titles.

On Friday, Williams was honored as The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in a vote that was about as close as many of her matches.

She received 53 first-place votes and 351 points from writers and broadcasters across the country. Golfer Annika Sorenstam was next, with 27 first-place votes and 193 points, followed by Olympic champion figure skater Sarah Hughes (12 first-place votes, 158 points).

"I can't become satisfied, because if I get satisfied, I'll be like, 'Oh, I've won Wimbledon, I've won the U.S. Open. Now can I relax,'" Williams said. "But now people are really going to be fighting to beat me."

It didn't do a lot of good to try to beat her this year.

Williams won 56 of 61 matches (a .918 winning percentage), claimed a WTA Tour-leading eight titles (out of only 13 tournaments played), and took home a record $3.6 million. She was a runner-up twice and never fared worse than the quarterfinals.

For comparison's sake, Sorenstam won 11 of her 23 events on the LPGA Tour, finishing out of the top 10 just three times, and set records for lowest scoring average (68.70) and earnings ($2.8 million). She also won non-tour events in Australia and Sweden this season, bringing her total to 13 wins in 25 tournaments.

Williams went 21-0 on her sport's biggest stages, beating sister Venus -- who was fifth in the AP balloting after finishing second twice in a row -- in the finals of the French Open on clay, Wimbledon on grass, and the U.S. Open on hard courts.

She didn't lose a set at the All England Club or Flushing Meadows en route to becoming just the sixth woman to win tennis' final three majors in a year (she dubbed it a "Serena Slam"). It might have been a Grand Slam sweep, but an ankle injury forced her to skip the Australian Open.

Williams had a season-best 21-match overall winning streak and took over the No. 1 ranking in July. Perhaps most striking was her complete turnaround against two of the best in the sport and her predecessors atop the rankings: Jennifer Capriati and Venus Williams. Serena went 0-4 against that pair in 2001, 9-0 against them in 2002.

"The difference is I'm a bit more mature, and I'm more relaxed," Serena said. "I'm a better player, obviously. But I just have more fun with what I do. I'm not as stressed out there as I used to be."

Her game features impressive power (her 53 aces during the U.S. Open were more than twice as many as any other woman) and all-court coverage, along with an ever-improving ability to construct points.

Not everything went according to plan for Williams this year.

Her parents completed their divorce, and she had to deal with a stalker who followed her around the world, getting arrested during Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. But the 21-year-old Williams never let anything off the court distract her on it.

"I'm a strong person," she said. "I try not to let things like that affect me."

Her burgeoning fame helped land new endorsements (including a McDonald's commercial featuring her and Venus) and TV appearances (on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" with Venus, a role as a kindergarten teacher on "My Wife and Kids").

And then there were her tennis outfits, including a green-and-yellow getup with knee-high socks at the French Open, and a snug black cat suit at the U.S. Open.

Shy? Ask her.

"I'm really exciting," Williams said. "I smile a lot, I win a lot, and I'm really sexy."

Others agree. She and Tiger Woods were deemed the most attractive spokespersons among athletes, according to a survey of the public relations industry.

"I think Serena likes the attention," said Venus, who's 15 months older. "Everyone has their year, and this is her year, and next year could be her year, also -- I don't know. But I'm glad she's done well."

Becool
Dec 27th, 2002, 06:40 AM
:D Congratulations Serena!

2003 is coming and you'll go out there and do the same!

tennisIlove09
Dec 27th, 2002, 06:41 AM
Congrats Serena :)

CHOCO
Dec 27th, 2002, 07:05 AM
This is absolutely amazing for Serena to win this award. She has come a very long ways. She worked hard and believed in herself and never stopped winning. I'm sure the year she had will inspire thousands of little girls and boys to reach for their goals in life.

GO SERENA!!! :):)

Sam L
Dec 27th, 2002, 08:55 AM
Congrats to Serena on this well deserved award :) She joins a looong list of female tennis greats who had won this prestigious award :)


Year
1931 Helene Madison, swimming
1932 Babe Didrikson, track
1933 Helen Jacobs, tennis
1934 Virginia Van Wie, golf
1935 Helen Wills Moody, tennis
1936 Helen Stephens, track
1937 Katherine Rawls, swimming
1938 Patty Berg, golf
1939 Alice Marble, tennis
1940 Alice Marble, tennis
1941 Betty Hicks Newell, golf
1942 Gloria Callen, swimming
1943 Patty Berg, golf
1944 Ann Curtis, swimming
1945 Babe Didrikson Zaharias, golf
1946 Babe Didrikson Zaharias, golf
1947 Babe Didrikson Zaharias, golf
1948 Fanny Blankers-Koen, track
1949 Marlene Bauer, golf
1950 Babe Didrikson Zaharias, golf
1951 Maureen Connolly, tennis
1952 Maureen Connolly, tennis
1953 Maureen Connolly, tennis
1954 Babe Didrikson Zaharias, golf
1955 Patty Berg, golf
1956 Pat McCormick, diving
1957 Althea Gibson, tennis
1958 Althea Gibson, tennis
1959 Maria Bueno, tennis
1960 Wilma Rudolph, track
1961 Wilma Rudolph, track
1962 Dawn Fraser, swimming
1963 Mickey Wright, golf
1964 Mickey Wright, golf
1965 Kathy Whitworth, golf
1966 Kathy Whitworth, golf
1967 Billie Jean King, tennis
1968 Peggy Fleming, skating
1969 Debbie Meyer, swimming
1970 Chi Cheng, track
1971 Evonne Goolagong, tennis
1972 Olga Korbut, gymnastics
1973 Billie Jean King, tennis
1974 Chris Evert, tennis
1975 Chris Evert, tennis
1976 Nadia Comaneci, gymnastics
1977 Chris Evert, tennis
1978 Nancy Lopez, golf
1979 Tracy Austin, tennis
1980 Chris Evert Lloyd, tennis
1981 Tracy Austin, tennis
1982 Mary Decker Tabb, track
1983 Martina Navratilova, tennis
1984 Mary Lou Retton, gymnastics
1985 Nancy Lopez, golf
1986 Martina Navratilova, tennis
1987 Jackie Joyner-Kersee, track
1988 Florence Griffith Joyner, track
1989 Steffi Graf, tennis
1990 Beth Daniel, golf
1991 Monica Seles, tennis
1992 Monica Seles, tennis
1993 Sheryl Swoopes, basketball
1994 Bonnie Blair, speed skating
1995 Rebecca Lobo, col. basketball
1996 Amy Van Dyken, swimming
1997 Martina Hingis, tennis
1998 Se Ri Pak, golf
1999 U.S. Soccer Team
2000 Marion Jones, track
2001 Jennifer Capriati, tennis
2002 Serena Williams, tennis

power26
Dec 27th, 2002, 10:48 AM
A WELL-DESERVED HONOUR INDEED. CONGRATS SERENA!

CHOCO
Dec 27th, 2002, 03:00 PM
This says alot for tennis players that many of them have won this award. They are some of the best athletes around.

GO SERENA. :)

Pureracket
Dec 27th, 2002, 03:03 PM
Nice!!!!!
Nice!!!!!
Nice!!!!!

leslie
Dec 27th, 2002, 04:50 PM
Why isn't Venus's name on that list and what is Jennifer's name doing there?

Dawn Marie
Dec 27th, 2002, 04:57 PM
Congrats to Serena Williams, this is great for the sport of tennis and for Serena fans!!:)

FEARLESS SERENA RULEZ!!:)

lizchris
Dec 27th, 2002, 05:09 PM
Originally posted by leslie
Why isn't Venus's name on that list and what is Jennifer's name doing there?

Venus should have won in 2000, but she fell victim to the same thing Steffi Graf did in 1988; the Olympics. Don't ask about Jennifer in 2001; Venus was more deserving.

GogoGirl
Dec 27th, 2002, 05:58 PM
Needless to say - I am sooooooo thrilled for Serena. She had an amazing year, and deserves all the accolades she's receiving. I mean - she won 56 out of 61 matches. Wow! Did she lose any of them in two sets? I can't remember - but I don't think so. She took them all to the limit.

"YOU DONE DID GOOD IN 2002 - SERENA" "CONGRATULATIONS - GIRLIE-GIRL" "YOU RULE - ROCK AND ROLL"

"COME ON - SERENA & JAMES" "LET'S GO" "YOU 2 CAN DO IT" "BRING THE TITLE HOME"

Rae Q.
Dec 27th, 2002, 08:26 PM
I know it may sound conceited but I would've been totally shocked if Serena didn't win. She had an awesome year for any athlete guy or girl. Yay Serena! :bounce: