Novak Djokovic named Sportsman of the Year
Considers it "the most prestigious award we have in sports worldwide"
Dedicates award to Johan Cruyff and Niki Lauda
Serena Williams named Sportswoman of the Year
Game, set and match.
It was tennis that triumphed at this year’s Laureus Awards, as Novak Djokovic and Serena William took home the top honors at the prestigious annual ceremony.
Djokovic reached all four grand slam finals in 2015, winning three – a feat matched by Serena Williams, who also held onto the world No. 1 ranking all year.
Djokovic’s Sportsman of the Year award means he’s now won it a total of three times, alongside tennis rival Roger Federer – the most since the inception of the Laureus Awards in 2000.
“It’s a great privilege and an honor,” said Djokovic on the red carpet.
“I think it’s probably the most prestigious award we have in sports worldwide, considering the fact you’re nominated by worldwide media representatives, academy members and former champions.
“They are great athletes and amazing people that have inspired not just me but many other athletes around the world.”
The tennis duo beat off considerable competition for the coveted awards as the biggest names in sport turned out in black tie with a sporting twist – also wearing trainers as part of the #SneakersforGood campaign, which focuses on how sport can change lives.
Djokovic had reason to be pleased, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Stephen Curry and Jordan Spieth among the nominees left disappointed.
For the women’s title, meanwhile, Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd were among those to be seen off by Williams.
The king and queen of tennis have now further cemented their names in the pantheon of past winners, alongside star names such as Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis, Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn.
The ceremony is rooted in the sort of excellence that passes into sporting history, and the Laureus Awards do not only honor modern-day athletes.
Indeed, three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda won the Lifetime Achievement award, while the late Johan Cruyff was posthumously awarded the Spirit of Sport title for his lasting contributions to football.
“It’s very overwhelming tonight … not just winning the award, but experiencing some of the amazing stories – especially concerning Johan Cruyff and Niki Lauda,” said Djokovic.
“I was very inspired and touched by their stories, so I feel a need to dedicate this award to their legacies.”