Williams is the first single female athlete to win the award since 1983. And she’s also become the first African American female athlete to win the award. While accepting her award at the Sports Illustration Award Dinner–here’s what the rulebreaker had to say:
I’ve had people look down on me. I’ve had people put me down because I didn’t look like them—I look stronger. I’ve had people look past me because of the color of my skin. I’ve had people overlook me because I was a woman. I had critics say I will never win another grand slam when I was only at number seven and now here I stand today with 21 grand slam titles and I’m still going.