Serena Williams Female Athlete Of The Year The Associated Press

Even a foul-mouthed tirade at a line judge couldn’t overshadow Serena Williams’ triumphant year in tennis. The Wimbledon ace was a landslide choice as The Associated Press’ Female Athlete of the Year, the news service said Tuesday.

The 28-year-old received 66 of 158 votes cast by editors at U.S. newspapers that are members of The AP. She also won the AP award in 2002, a seven-year gap that is the longest between AP Female Athlete of the Year honors since golf’s Patty Berg won the title in 1943 and 1955. She is currently ranked World Number 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

“I’m just happy and blessed to even be playing seven years later. All this is a bonus, really,” Williams said. “In 2002, I just was really dominant, and I think in 2009, I just brought that back. I kind of became that player again.”

Serena was fined more than $80,000 when she hurled abuses at a line judge during the 2009 U.S. Open in September. Last week, The AP named philandering golfer Tiger Woods as 2009’s Best Male Athlete.