For the second time in his career, Rafael Nadal won Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year! It is the second Laureus honor for Nadal and the first in ten years, becoming the third tennis player with multiple awards after Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Nadal earned the title ahead of Joshua Cheptegei, Armand Duplantis, Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James and Robert Lewandowski, mainly thanks to his 13th Roland Garros crown and the 20th Major that put him on the level terms with Roger Federer for the first time.
Established in 2000, the Laureus World Sports Award honors the most prominent athletes in different categories. The first two editions of the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year went to Tiger Woods, followed by Michael Schumacher and Lance Armstrong as the following winners.
Roger Federer took charge from 2005 to rattle off four straight awards and write history during his prime years. Usain Bolt secured four honors, together with Novak Djokovic, whose most recent crown came in 2019 following a stellar 2018 season that saw his return to the ATP throne from outside the top-20.
Rafael Nadal secured the second Laureus award, the first in ten years.
Rafael Nadal earned the first Laureus Award in 2011 after lifting three Major crowns in 2010, being in contention last year after a notable 2019 season.
Rafa battled against Lewis Hamilton, Eliud Kipchoge, Marc Marquez, Lionel Messi and Tiger Woods and finished third behind Hamilton and Messi. Nadal's nomination for the award in 2021 came as a bit of surprise, as Rafa wasn't the best player of the previous season, finishing it almost 2200 points behind Novak Djokovic.
Both Novak and Rafa claimed one Major title in 2020, although the Serb added two Masters 1000 trophies to his tally and the ATP Cup, beating Nadal in the title clash at the beginning of the season. Rafa's proudest moment came at Roland Garros, where he won his 13th Parisian trophy and the 20th Major overall, becoming the second player in history to achieve that after Roger Federer.
That was enough to put Rafa ahead of Novak as the Laureus candidate, and he beat all the opponents to wrap up a massive honor a few hours after reaching the quarter-final at the Madrid Open at home in Spain.