PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL, USA - It was a massive year for Serena Williams, with an historic 18th Grand Slam title, the biggest payout in tennis history and Year-End World No.1 presented by Dubai Duty Free among her many accomplishments. And now another one - she's WTA Player Of The Year.
"I'm really grateful and humbled to receive this award," Williams said of Friday's news. "It's been an amazing year. I'm truly blessed to be playing at this level this far into my career. I feel incredibly supported by my team, my family, the tennis community and the fans. I'm just so happy - thank you!"
Halfway through the year it looked like Williams' World No.1 status might be in trouble - she had fallen early at the first three majors of the year and she was down at No.6 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, the year-long journey to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
But once the tour switched back to hardcourts it's like she flipped a switch. Williams won 26 of 29 matches the rest of the season, picking up four more WTA titles at Stanford, Cincinnati, the US Open and the WTA Finals, that US Open run tying her with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for second-most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era with 18 (Steffi Graf leads the list with 22 Grand Slams).
Perhaps the most impressive number for Williams in 2014 was she went 12-1 against Top 10 opponents, showing she brings her very best against the very best time and time again. And the only blemish in that record came against WTA Rising Star Simona Halep in the round robin portion of the WTA Finals, which didn't stop her from winning the title anyway - and beating Halep back in the final.
Williams has now won WTA Player Of The Year award six times: 2002, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Only Graf (eight) and Navratilova (seven) have won it more times - in fact Graf, Navratilova and Williams are the only three players in the 38-year history of the award to win it more than twice.
That wraps up the WTA Awards week, with the full list of winners being...
WTA Newcomer Of The Year - Belinda Bencic
WTA Most Improved Player Of The Year - Eugenie Bouchard
WTA Comeback Player Of The Year - Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
WTA Doubles Team Of The Year - Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci
WTA Player Of The Year - Serena Williams
Come back to wtatennis.com all week next week for the WTA Fan Favorite Awards!
Williams was a big winner in the media vote for WTA Player Of The Year, with 36 of 58 votes. Halep beat her out in the fan vote, though, with 48% of you voting for her (Williams was next with 21%).