Home Sports Nadal and Osaka scoop top Laureus awards

Nadal and Osaka scoop top Laureus awards

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Tennis - French Open - Galeries Lafayette Rooftop, Paris, France - October 12, 2020  Spain's Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy after winning the French Open yesterday  REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

Spain’s Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy after winning the French Open in October last year. (REUTERS/File Photo)

Spain’s Rafa Nadal was named the 2021 Laureus Sportsman of the year on Thursday, while fellow tennis player Naomi Osaka won the top women’s honour.

Japan’s Osaka won her second U.S. Open title last year, while Nadal equalled Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam titles by claiming his 13th French Open crown.

Nadal picked up his fourth Laureus honour, having previously scooped the Breakthrough, Comeback and men’s individual awards.

“The rest of the sportsmen probably deserve the trophy the same as me, but this was the year for me and I can’t be happier,” the 34-year-old Nadal said.

“Winning the French Open and equalling the 20th Grand Slam of Roger Federer has been an unforgettable moment.

“It means a lot to equal my great rival, but at the same time, my great friend. It’s something very special after all the history we have had together on and off court.”

Laureus hailed Osaka’s “powerful statement” at the U.S. Open to support the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign as she highlighted racial injustice by wearing different face masks at her matches bearing the names of African Americans who died in recent years.

Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates with the championship trophy after her match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus (not pictured) in the women's singles final on day thirteen of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates with the championship trophy after her match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus (not pictured) in the women’s singles final on day thirteen of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.  (USA TODAY Sports/File Photo)

“I think it is important to use my voice,” said 23-year-old Osaka. “Because for me I feel like I often hold back a lot and worry about what people think of me, but you know if you have a platform it is very important you use it.”

Tennis dominated the digital awards ceremony in Seville as American great Billie Jean King received the Lifetime Achievement award.

German soccer champions Bayern Munich, who won last season’s Champions League, were named the Team of the Year.

Britain’s Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton claimed the inaugural Athlete Advocate of the Year Award for his involvement in the fight against racism.

Quaterback Patrick Mahomes won the Breakthrough of the Year Award after helping Kansas City Chiefs in 2020 to their first Super Bowl appearance and win in 50 years, at the age of 24.

List of winners

Sportsman of the Year Award: Rafael Nadal

Sportswoman of the Year Award: Naomi Osaka

Team of the Year Award: Bayern Munich

Breakthrough of the Year Award: Patrick Mahomes

Comeback of the Year Award: Max Parrot

Sport for Good Award: KICKFORMORE by KICKFAIR

Lifetime Achievement Award: Billie Jean King

Athlete Advocate of the Year Award: Lewis Hamilton

Sporting Inspiration Award: Mohamed Salah

Sporting Moment of the Year Award: Chris Nikic

gsg


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