Tennis great Serena Williams said she is "beyond honored" to be named Sport Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year honor. She's the third woman to win the award outright. (Reuters)

Serena Williams came up just short of the calendar-year Grand Slam this year — losing in the U.S. Open semifinals after winning the first three tennis majors — but that was good enough for Sports Illustrated.

Fisher reports that SI made the decision in early November, before Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors ran off 24 straight wins to start the NBA season.

Williams has won 53 of her last 56 matches and needs one more Grand Slam title to match Steffi Graf’s career record of 22.

“This year was spectacular,” Williams said in a statement. “For Sports Illustrated to recognize my hard work, dedication and sheer determination with this award gives me hope to continue on and do better. As I always say, it takes a village— not just one person. This is not just an accomplishment for me, but for my whole team and all my fans. I am beyond honored.”

Williams also beat out race horse (and non-person) American Pharoah, the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 and the winner of SI’s readers’ poll. The horsey crowd was outraged.