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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.

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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.

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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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