Twenty three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams has been named the AP’s Female Athlete of the Year for the fifth time. While she didn’t win any Grand Slams this year, Williams had moments of greatness with two appearances in Grand Slam finals following the birth of her first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
Williams previously bagged the title of The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 2002, 2009, 2013 and 2015. As noted by Yahoo, she trails Babe Didrikson Zaharias for most titles (six).
“Her rapid return to tennis after a health scare following childbirth was a victory in itself, and for that, Williams was voted The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the fifth time,” said AP Sports Writer Brian Mahoney.
Williams received 93 points from U.S. editors and news directors announced Wednesday, while gymnast Simone Biles was second with 68. Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale took the third spot, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and 2017 winner and swimmer Katie Ledecky, rounded out the top five
The Male Athlete of the Year will be announced Thursday.
This past year was all about Williams’ resilience in the face of adversity. She gave birth to her first child in September of 2017 via an emergency C-section, and it was a fight for survival after developing blood clots in her lungs that required four surgeries to treat a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
It was Williams’ incredible bounce back and determination that earned her the 2018 title of The AP’s Female Athlete of the Year.
“I’m still waiting to get to be the Serena that I was, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be that, physically, emotionally, mentally. But I’m on my way,” Williams said on the eve of the U.S. Open final. “I feel like I still have a ways to go. Once I get there, I’ll be able to play even hopefully better.”