Serena Williams Female AP Athlete of the Year

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Serena Williams was honored on Wednesday with the title of "The Associated Press' 2013 Female Athlete of the Year." It's the third year the tennis icon has won the prestigious award. Wiliams received 55 of 96 possible votes to win the title. Brittney Griner came in second. The two-time AP Player of the Year in college basketball and the No. 1 pick in April's WNBA draft received votes.

Reportedly producing 'the finest women's tennis season in years,' Serena went 78-4 with 11 titles, including both the U.S. Open and the French Open. She raised her Grand Slam championship total to 17.

"Whenever I lose, I get more determined, and it gives me something more to work toward," Williams said to an AP reporter just prior to the U.S. Open. "I don't get complacent, and I realize I need to work harder and I need to do better and I want to do better - or I wouldn't keep playing this game."

According to the World Tennis Association, Serena Williams's 951 winning percentage was the best since that of Steffi Graf when she won .977 back in 1989. Serena's winning titles were the most won since Martina Hingis won 12 in 1997. And she even rivals her sister Venus Williams, having enjoyed the longest winning streak since Venus had a 35-match run back in 2000.

"She just continues to be an inspiration to American tennis," Gordon Smith, The U.S. Tennis Association executive director said. "Her year this year? Unforgettable."

Unforgettable is the perfect word to describe Serena Williams--and the 32-year-old isn't done yet. During Wimbledon this year, Serena spoke at a celebration of the WTA's 40th Anniversary--addressing little girls who could be potential future players.

"We're waiting for you, and we can't wait to meet you," she said.

Just imagine the future of women's tennis if this Female AP Athlete of the Year has any influence over young girls coming up in the sport. Serena Williams will reign in this sport--whether on the court or off--for many years to come.

Image via Wikimedia

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.