The Laureus World Sports Awards are seen as the premier international sporting awards, honouring the very best men and women from around the globe. This year’s awards ceremony was dominated by one sport though, as the awards for sportsman and sportswoman of the year both went to tennis players.
Predictably, the top male award was handed to Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, who reached all four of the year’s Grand Slam finals, and managed to take glory in three of them. There’s no doubting that he is the best male tennis player on the planet, and most wonder how anyone will topple him in the coming years.
Djokovic’s exploits over the past season were matched by Serena Williams, who picked up the women’s award. If Djokovic is dominant in the men’s game, Williams is even more dominant among the women, and shows no sign of slowing down, despite now being 34 years of age.
The disabled sportsperson of the year award was given to Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias. He’s had an amazing time of late, winning seven gold medals in a dominant performance at the IPC Swimming World Championships.
When it came to the always hotly contested Team of the Year award, the prize went to New Zealand’s World Cup winning rugby union side, who become the first ever team to retain the World Cup trophy. Star player Dan Carter was also honoured, winning the Comeback of the Year award. He missed the 2011 final after getting injured, but was pivotal in New Zealand’s victory in 2015.
The Breakthrough of the Year award was a pretty easy one to predict, as it was won by American golfer Jordan Spieth, who won both the Masters and the US Open over the past year. He also came close to retaining his Masters title recently, but spectacularly blew-it during his final round, allowing Danny Willett to take the top prize.
The other awards to mention are the Athlete of the Year award, which was won by Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, and the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to Niki Lauda. The most emotional part of the night though came when football legend Johan Cruyff was posthumously awarded a Spirit of Sport award, in recognition of his work in bringing sport to under-privileged children throughout the world. Cruyff had already been honoured by the awards before, as in 2006 he won the Lifetime Achievement Award.