The win makes Williams the first individual female to receive the award in over 30 years:
In 2015, the 34-year-old pro tennis phenom went 53-3, winning five titles, including wins at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and was even No. 1 in the WTA rankings all season:
The announcement was made Monday morning by Paul Fichtenbaum, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group. He wrote:
“She was the most deserving person for the award. She had an amazing year. The way she won her events; the fact that she's done this for so many years at such a high level.”
“We just felt this was a natural evolution...We're not making a huge deal out of it. It just feels like the right time to make the change.”
It's still a big move for the magazine, whether or not they're making a big deal out of it. The name of the actual award used to be 'sportsman,' for example, not sportsperson:
The last individual female recipient was three-time gold medal winner, runner Mary Decker, who took home the award in 1983.