15. Winning Streak

Serena Williams has won 17 Grand Slam championships. (Women's Tennis Association)

No. 1 ranked Serena Williams has won 17 Grand Slam singles championships. (Women’s Tennis Association)

Serena Williams is on another roll. She won 34 straight matches for a 78-4 record this year, taking the U.S. Open, the French Open and nine other titles. She’s now up to 17 Grand Slam championships, not even counting the sister act in doubles with Venus. The Women’s Tennis Association ranks her No. 1 overall and for fastest serves — one clocked at 128.6 mph at the Australian Open. Serena is also the 2013 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, alongside her male counterpart, Miami Heat star LeBron James. Plus, she took home a season record $12.4 million in prizes. Just two years ago, her tennis career was on hold, because of blood clots and surgery to repair a tendon in her right foot, which she cut on broken glass. The Williams sisters are the only black women to dominate tennis globally since Althea Gibson, also an AP honoree, won her back-to-back titles at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 1957 and 1958.