Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka elevated tennis to new heights after both players won at the 2019 Laureus Sports Awards.
The Serbian tennis star won the fourth Laureus award of his career after beating competition from the likes of PSG’s superstar footballer Kylian Mbappe, basketball star Lebron James and athlete Eluid Kipchoge of Kenya.
Djokovic had been struggling for form due to injuries he suffered in 2017 but the Serb witnessed a change of fortunes by winning the US Open and Wimbledon to end 2018 on a high. He also ended the year as world number one.
“A Laureus award is what every athlete wants to win, and this one is a huge honour for me. Being among so many sporting greats here tonight gives this award a special meaning to me.”
Djokovic’s Sportsman of the Year award last night makes it the fourth title of his career after winning the 2012, 2015 and 2016 edition of the award.
Naomi Osaka also won the Breakthrough award after a barnstorming 2018 in which she won her maiden major Grand Slam title, the US Open.
The 21- year old current WTA world number one started 2018 without much of a reputation and was outside the World top 50 WTA players but ended the year in the top five after defeating Serena Williams to clinch the US Open title.
“I want to thank my coaching staff and my family for being there for me these entire years. I also want to acknowledge other nominees , and thank the Laureus Academy for nominating me for such a prestigious award.”
While Djokovic won the male award category, gymnast Simone Biles won the female category as Sportswoman of the year. Roger Federer holds the record of having won the most Laureus awards (7) as a tennis player with his 2018 award being his most recent win