Tennis players Rafael Nadal and Naomi Osaka picked up the Laureus Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards on Thursday with football star Mo Salah and Formula One World champion Lewis Hamilton also recognised.
World No. 2 Nadal claimed his fourth award as he was recognised for his 13th French Open and record-equalling 20th Major. Osaka, who won the US Open for the second time and has four Majors, is now a two-time Laureus winner.
Naomi Osaka with her reward.
“Winning the French Open and equalling the 20th Grand Slam of Roger Federer has been an unforgettable moment,” said Nadal. “It means a lot to equal my great rival, but at the same time, my great friend.”
Osaka was recognised also for her anti-racism stance particularly at the US Open where she wore face masks bearing the names of Black Americans who died as a result of police clashes or were victims of racial injustice.
“Regarding my activism on the court, I think it is important to use my voice, 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,” said the Japanese star.
Bayern Munich, winners of the UEFA Champions League and Bundesliga, won the Laureus World Team of the Year Award.
Liverpool and Egypt attacker Salah won the Sporting Inspiration Award for his support of various charities, many in his home town of Nagrig.
Hamilton was named the inaugural winner of the Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year award for his support for racial justice, wearing a Black Lives Matter helmet and black race suit and taking a knee at each Grand Prix.
Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot was one of the most emotional winners. He received the Laureus World Comeback of the Year after fighting back from cancer to win X-Games gold medals.
Tennis giant Billie Jean King was honoured with the Laureus Lifetime Achievement award.
Chris Nikic, who became the first person with Down’s Syndrome to complete a full Ironman, received the most votes in the global Laureus Sporting Moment award public vote.
List of winners: Sportsman of the Year: Rafael Nadal; Sportswoman of the Year: Naomi Osaka; Team of the Year: Bayern Munich; Breakthrough of the Year: Patrick Mahomes; Comeback of the Year: Max Parrot; Sport for Good: KICKFORMORE by KICKFAIR; Lifetime Achievement: Billie Jean King; Athlete Advocate of the Year: Lewis Hamilton; Sporting Inspiration: Mohamed Salah; Sporting Moment of the Year: Chris Nikic.