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WASHINGTON, DC - Playing her best at the most important events, Serena Williams re-established herself as the top player in women's tennis in 2009 and was a landslide choice as Female Athlete of the Year by members of the Associated Press.
Williams received 66 of 158 votes cast by editors at US newspapers that are members of the AP. No other candidate got more than 18 votes in the tally.
Clearly, her most infamous on-court episode - a tirade at a line judge after a foot-fault call near the end of her US Open semifinal loss in September - didn't hurt her standing in the eyes of the voters.
"People realise that I'm a great player, and one moment doesn't define a person's career," Williams said.
"And I was right, for the most part. It wasn't right the way I reacted - I never said it was - but I was right about the call."
She noted that the outburst, which resulted in a record fine and two-year probationary period at Grand Slam tournaments, "got a lot more people excited about tennis".
The 28-year-old American tends to do that, thanks to her powerful, athletic play and her outgoing personality.
"I'm just blessed to even be playing seven years later. All this is a bonus, really," Williams said.
"In 2002, I was really dominant, and I think in 2009 I brought that back."- Sapa-AP