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Poll Names Serena Williams America's Favorite Female Sports Star

July 17, 2009 07:00 AM
According to the latest Harris Poll, conducted just prior to Wimbledon, the most popular female sports stars in the U.S. follow their 2009 Wimbledon finish -- Florida's Serena (No. 1) and Venus (No. 2) Williams.

The sisters are tops in the latest poll out of all American sportswomen, knocking last year's favorite, race car driver Danica Patrick, to No. 3.

Another Wimbledon winner and Florida resident, Maria Sharapova, checks in at No. 6, dropping two from No. 4 last year. Confusing the Harris Pollsters was Chris Evert, in at No. 8, inexplicably (Marriage to golfer Greg "The Shark" Norman? Working with future tennis stars such as Madison Keys?) returning to the Top 10 for the first time since 2005. The Harris Pollsters neglected to identify Evert as a tennis player, calling her "Chris Everett Lloyd." Anna Kournikova, not to be kept off any popularity poll, came in at No. 10.

"I'm really just playing for me, whether I'm the greatest or not," said Serena, the current holder of three of the four Grand Slam singles titles, on comparisons to the past greats of the game. "I can't even put myself in a sentence with the greatest, because I think of people like Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf and Billie Jean King. You know, they were such great champions. To even be mentioned with those people is a real honor to me. I feel like I'm really young. I feel like I'm only thinking about my career and continued playing."

The younger Williams sister, who this week won the award for Best Female Tennis Player at the ESPYs, beating out world No. 1 Dinara Safina and 2009 Roland Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, also has a biography coming out soon.

Tiger Woods took the top spot as the U.S. fans' favorite male sports star, with no male tennis players among the Top 10.

The Harris Poll, started in 1993, was conducted online within the United States between June 8 and 15, 2009 among 2,177 adults.
 

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