A year ago you would not have imagined Novak Djokovic would be in the running for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, but after his dramatic form reversal in the middle of last year, the Serbian has been awarded that title for the fourth time. He previously won in 2012, 2015 and 2016.
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Photo: Laureus World Sportsman of The Year 2019 winner Novak Djokovic signs the wall during the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards on February 18, 2019 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for Laureus)
Other nominees this year included American basketball star LeBron James, Kenyan long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge and French football player Kylian Mbappe.
“A Laureus Award is what every athlete wants to win, and this one is a huge honour for me. Being among so many sporting greats here tonight… gives this award a special meaning for me,” said Djokovic. “Last year was an incredible season for me. Returning from injury to win Wimbledon and the US Open is something I’ll remember forever.”
After struggling in the early part of 2018 after a six-month injury layoff, he came roaring back starting in Rome where he reached the semifinals at the Masters’ event. He then famously won Wimbledon and the US Open to go along with Masters event titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai, those wins saw him collect at least one of every Masters title.
His amazing second-half surge saw Djokovic go from no. 14 in the world at the time of the Australian Open to no. 1 by November 2018.
At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, Nelson Mandela’s declared that “Sport has the power to change the world”. Since that moment, thanks to the support of its partners, Academy Members and Ambassadors, Laureus Sport for Good now supports over 150 projects in more than 40 countries, helping to change young lives for the better. Each year, one example of this work is recognised, through the prestigious Laureus Sport for Good Award.
Gymnast Simone Biles won the Sportswoman of the Year award. After her record-breaking performance at the gymnastics world championships, in which she won four gold, one silver and one bronze medal, Simone Biles was crowned Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year. Biles, who also won the Sportswoman Award in 2017, made history last year by becoming the first woman to win four all-around world championships. At just 21, she now has a record 14 career world titles.
Read more about all of the winners.