NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams is Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year — the first female athlete honored on her own by the magazine in more than 30 years.

Paul Fichtenbaum, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group, calls Williams "a terrific candidate in a year of terrific candidates."

Williams came within two matches of tennis' first Grand Slam since 1988.

Runner Mary Decker in 1983 was the last female athlete to earn the award by herself. The U.S. women's national soccer team was picked by SI in 1999; speedskater Bonnie Blair (1994) and gymnast Mary Lou Retton (1984) were co-honorees with male Olympians.

Monday's announcement marks a switch to the SI award's name; past recipients were called Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Year.

Fichtenbaum calls it "the right time to make the change."

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