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2015 Year in Review: Serena dominates the big stages

December 17, 2015 03:50 PM

By Ashley Marshall, USTA.com

As the year draws to a close, USTA.com is taking a look back at the players, people and stories that dominated the headlines and stole the show in 2015. In this installment of our annual year-in-review series, here is one our Top 10 moments in American tennis for the year that was. Visit our 2015 Year in Review homepage to see all 10.

Serena Williams’ remarkable year saw her come within two victories of completing the first calendar-year Grand Slam in almost three decades.

Williams went 53-3 in 2015, claiming her 19th, 20th and 21st Grand Slam women’s singles titles at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, respectively, to move within one of tying Steffi Graf for the most singles majors in the Open era. In doing so, Williams captured her second ‘Serena Slam’ – holding all four major titles at the same time.

The 34-year-old fell just shy of matching Graf’s 1988 Grand Slam achievement, falling at the semifinals of the US Open in September. But her outstanding campaign was plenty to secure Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year honors, making Williams the first tennis player honored by the magazine since Arthur Ashe in 1992 and the first individual female athlete to receive the accolade since Bonnie Blair in 1984.

Also in 2015, Williams returned to play at Indian Wells for the first time in 14 years, captured the year-end No. 1 ranking for the third successive season and the fifth time overall, and was named the WTA Player of the Year for the fourth consecutive season and the seventh time in her career. She had more than twice as many ranking points as the No. 2 player in the world for six weeks over the summer and won titles at Miami (a Premier Mandatory event) and Cincinnati (a Premier 5 event). Only Petra Kvitova, Belinda Bencic and Roberta Vinci handed her a loss in 2015.

Williams has now spent 271 weeks at the top spot in the world rankings, which ranks third all-time. That includes each of the past 147 weeks, also the third-longest in WTA history. If she remains at No. 1 through the Australian Open, she will surpass Martina Navratilova’s 156 consecutive weeks in the top spot, and a run into the summer would move her past Graf’s record of 186.