The 34 year old was feted for her outstanding year, during which she won 53 out of 56 matches and came close to clenching the record for Grand Slam singles titles in a year before losing during the U.S. Open in September (15).

"This year was spectacular," Williams tells the publication. "For Sports Illustrated to recognise my hard work, dedication and sheer determination with this award gives me hope to continue on and do better. As I always say, it takes a village - not just one person. This is not just an accomplishment for me, but for my whole team and all my fans. I am beyond honoured."

Past recipients of the award include Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali. Track star Mary Decker was the last female athlete named Sportsperson of the Year in 1983.