Rafael Nadal: ‘This was the year for me’ as he wins prestigious Laureus Award

Rafael Nadal has picked up his second Laureus Sportsman of the Year award after his phenomenal 2020 achievement.

Voted for by the world’s sports media, the Laureus Awards aim to not only celebrate the highest sporting achievements but also honour those whose actions have transcended the court, track or field of play.

Nadal has won the award once before in 2011, and had been nominated on four other occasions. He was up against Joshua Cheptegei, Armand Duplantis, Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James and Robert Lewandowski.

In a year when the tennis calendar was disrupted for many months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nadal managed to win a record 13th Roland Garros title, and in doing so he equaled the record for the most Grand Slam titles by any man in history.

On Thursday, Nadal reached the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters by beating Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-3 and his day got even better with the news that he had won the prestigious award.

“I want to say thank you very much from the bottom of my heart to the Laureus Academy,” said Nadal.

“I have had some amazing competitors, 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.

Nadal then went on to talk of his record-equaling achievement with his ‘friend’ Roger Federer and send a good will message to all.

“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.

“The pandemic that we are facing is something unprecedented and I want to send a message of support to all the families that have suffered or lost somebody.”

Fellow tennis player Naomi Osaka was also victorious on the evening winning the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Award.

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