Serena Williams spent a good portion of 2015 deflecting questions about whether she could complete the Grand Slam. After coming oh-so-close, she can acknowledge how much she cared about the rare feat.
"If you know anything about me, I hate to lose," she said. "I've always said I hate losing more than I like winning, so that drives me to be the best that I can be."
She's a winner again. In a vote by U.S. editors and news directors, Williams was chosen the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the fourth time. Results were announced Friday.
Williams collected 50 first-place votes and 352 points. Carli Lloyd, whose hat trick in the final lifted the U.S. women's soccer team to the World Cup title, was the runner-up, with 14 first-place votes and 243 points. UFC star Ronda Rousey finished third, one spot ahead of the woman she stunningly lost to last month, Holly Holm. UConn basketball player Breanna Stewart was fifth.
The AP Male Athlete of the Year will be announced Saturday.
Williams, who also won AP awards in 2002, 2009 and 2013, joined Chris Evert as a four-time honoree. The only woman with more AP selections is Babe Didrikson, with six — one for athletics in 1932, and five for golf from 1945-54.
"It's not even winning the Grand Slam titles as much as the way she got herself out of the deep holes that she dug, just repeatedly. It's not like she had two or three narrow escapes," Evert said about Williams. "It really was the year of the comeback. It was just unbelievable."
Williams, 34, won the Australian Open on hard courts in January, the French Open on red clay in June, and Wimbledon on grass in July, before losing to 43rd-ranked Roberta Vinci in the U.S. Open semifinals in September in one of the biggest upsets in the sport's history. In all, Williams went 53-3 with a WTA tour-leading five titles and was ranked No. 1 every week. She raised her Grand Slam singles trophy count to 21; only two women have won more.
Israeli athletes are kept out of Malaysia
Two Israeli windsurfers and their coach withdrew from the ISAF world youth sailing championships, victims of politics. Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan and coach Meir Yaniv were unable to get visas because Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Amir Gill, chairman of the Israel association, also said Malaysia had placed "unacceptable" demands by forbidding athletes from carrying their country's flag or wearing any symbol on their attire and surfboards that showed their country of origin.
BYU star scores 26 in win over UNI
Chase Fischer settled for 26 points this time, propelling BYU to an 84-76 win over Northern Iowa in the fifth-place game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.
Fischer scored 41 points Wednesday against New Mexico.