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Sport’s Illustrated just named Serena Williams Sportsperson Of The Year.

Because how can you not acknowledge her on and off the court #slayage?

Williams won three major titles at a time when many tennis stars are considered late in their career. Despite battling physical ailments, Serena hung on to the No.1 tennis athlete in the world status for six weeks this summer.

The interview details the adversity Serena was up against as she battled to the top. Plagued with the flu,  after the French semifinal Williams’ family found her ‘curled up on a bench in the locker room, covered in towels and sobbing.’

‘I was crying so hard,” Serena says. “I didn’t want to win. I just wanted to go home. I said, ‘I can’t play anymore,’ Serena told SI.

Along with her body crumbling under pressure, Serena fought against her highly criticized on court etiquette.

At the Australian Open final, Serena yelled “Come on!” as her opponent  blocked the ball back. The star was penalized for interference.

The interviewer recalls a time where losing a point would spiral Serena into rage:

‘In the 2011 U.S. Open final, Williams lambasted the official (“Are you the one who screwed me over last time here? . . . Don’t look at me. . . . If you ever see me walking down the hall, look the other way”)This time? Williams wiped her face and, two points later, ripped a forehand winner. She celebrated with a slow fist pump and a sardonically soft Come on.’

#serenawilliams

A photo posted by Serena Knowles (@mrsturkishbeyhive) on Dec 14, 2015 at 7:47am PST

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“I just kind of laughed,” Williams explains to SI. “A few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to laugh. I haven’t lost that part of me; I’m very passionate on the court, but I’ve learned to be fierce more on the inside. It was a Grand Slam final. I said, ‘Serena, just laugh. You’ve been here before.’ I learned from that experience.”

Learning and conquering, that has been the walk of Serena’s legacy. And we’re grateful to have her as an example of what it means to win internally and in your craft.

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