By Rita Kokshanian
Updated Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:00 pm
attends Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony 2015 at Pier 60 on December 15, 2015 in New York City.
Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

When it comes to sports, 2015 was the year of Serena Williams. The tennis star was awarded with Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year Award in New York on Tuesday night, and her moving speech has us feeling beyond inspired.

Following an emotional introduction that included tributes from her three sisters and her mother, the 2015 Wimbledon champ took the stage to accept the honor. Williams is the first woman to receive the Sportsperson of the Year award in 30 years, a fact that didn't escape her. "I would really like to thank Sports Illustrated for recognizing me, not just as Sportswoman or Sports of the Year, but as Sportsperson of the Year," she said.

"I have to tell each and every one of you that it doesn't matter how old you are, how young you are, your age. You can achieve anything you set your mind to, and I always say if I can do it anyone can do it. And the reason that I always say that is because I didn't grow up with things being handed to me. I had to work hard, I had to dedicate myself and I had to be determined. And I was," Williams continued.

"Even outside of sport—it can be education, it can be business, it can be anything. It requires discipline, and hard work, and determination, and most importantly it requires self-belief. Because like me, Some people might not believe in you but you have to believe in you. And sometimes you're going to be your own cheerleader, and you have to be your biggest and your best cheerleader. So to all you young athletes, take that to heart, and never stop believing in yourself and really always support who you are. "