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Gymnast Biles was second with 68 points, while basketballer Arike Ogunbowale came third.
WTA Insider offered insight into her win:
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) December 26, 2018
Patrick Mouratoglou, Williams’ coach since 2012, congratulated her:
Well deserved @serenawilliams to be voted for the 5th time AP’s female athlete of the year.
— Patrick Mouratoglou (@pmouratoglou) December 26, 2018
Williams previously won the award in 2002, 2009, 2013 and 2015. In each of those years, she won at least two Grand Slam titles.
This year, the 37-year-old did not win a single tournament. However, in pursuit of her 24th Grand Slam singles title she did reach the finals of both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, where she lost to Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka, respectively.
The American returned to singles competition in March after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on September 1, 2017.
Williams required four operations because of blood clots she developed after giving birth.
Per the AP, Williams’ “perseverance” following her health issues inspired her reception of the award this year.