Tennis superstars Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Boris Becker reminisced about the speech delivered by former South Africa President Nelson Mandela at the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards two decades ago. On 25th May 2000, Mandela had delivered one of the most powerful speeches in sporting history.
"Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair.
It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination."
Novak Djokovic says Nelson Mandela inspires him and every person on this planet
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has won 19 Grand Slam singles titles, commented, "Nelson Mandela is one of those people that always brought the light.
His strength to come out and fight for what is right is something that motivates and obviously inspires myself and every person on this planet." 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, who had the chance to meet Mandela at the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards, said listening to Mandela's address was a really great experience, as per the Laureus website.
"Being there in the crowd when Nelson Mandela was addressing us, was a really great experience. The words he said about sport, it doesn't matter what colour you are, you can still be the best. What struck me most about Mr Mandela was the fact that he knew everything about me, and I'm thinking 'no, I know everything about you!
We just had an incredible conversation about things we wanted to do in the world, and it was a real changing point in my life." Six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker says he had the honour of meeting Mandela twice in his life.
"At the Laureus World Sports Awards 2000 in Monaco and a holiday in South Africa in 2007, I had the honour to meet Nelson Mandela. To shake hands with him was for me a very special moment. For us Laureus Academy Members it is an honour that a personality as he stood behind the idea of Laureus and supported us as Patron."
Novak Djokovic is currently the top ranked player in the world. He has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles and has said that he would like to break the all-time record for most Grand Slam singles titles won by a male player.