Aitana Bonmati and Novak Djokovic crowned Laureus Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year: Bonmati fan, Usain Bolt, presents her with trophy

By Sports Desk April 22, 2024

In a celebration of sporting excellence, Spanish football maestro Aitana Bonmati and tennis icon Novak Djokovic emerged as the illustrious recipients of the Laureus Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year Awards at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony on Monday.

Jamaica's Shericka Jackson was a nominee.

Bonmati, the midfield maestro who played a pivotal role in Spain's triumphant World Cup campaign, etched her name in history as the first footballer to claim the coveted Sportswoman of the Year title. Her outstanding achievements, including winning FIFA's The Best and Ballon d'Or accolades, marked her as a standout performer in women's football.

Upon receiving the esteemed accolade from four-time Laureus Award recipient Usain Bolt, Bonmati expressed her profound gratitude and shared her aspirations to inspire the next generation of female athletes. “I am honoured to receive the Laureus for Sportswoman of the Year – and I am also very happy that my international teammates have been recognised as the Team of the Year by the Laureus World Sports Academy.

“It is humbling to see the list of previous winners of this Award. From Serena Williams to Simone Biles, Lindsey Vonn, Naomi Osaka and last year’s winner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, they are all incredible athletes who have not only excelled in their chosen sports, but been incredible role models for younger generations of young women and girls. To be the first footballer to win this Award makes it even more special and I hope to represent my sport in the same way that those great champions have done.

“Our national team is a group like no other – our strength comes from every challenge we have faced, both on and off the field of play. I believe we have met them all, and I hope that we can be an inspiration to young girls in Spain and around the world, to not just take up football but participate in sport and enjoy all the benefits it brings. At this 25th Laureus Awards, the message of Laureus’ founding Patron, Nelson Mandela, remains true: sport has the power to change the world.

“On a personal level, I would like to thank the Laureus Academy for the Sportswoman of the Year Award. To join a list of winners that includes such great sporting heroes is very special for me – more so because these Awards are voted for by the sporting champions of the Laureus Academy."

 

Bonmati's triumph was further highlighted as the Spanish women's football team clinched the Team of the Year honour, underscoring their collective prowess and resilience on the global stage.

Novak Djokovic, the indomitable force in men's tennis, seized the spotlight once again as he claimed his fifth Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award. Djokovic's remarkable 2023 season, which saw him equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam titles, solidified his status as one of the sport's all-time greats.

“I am incredibly honoured to have won my fifth Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award. I think back to 2012, when I won it for the first time as a 24-year-old. I am very proud to be here 12 years later, reflecting on a year that brought me and my fans a lot of excitement and success.

“It was thrilling to return to Australia last January and win my 10th title. It is a tournament that is so dear to my heart and set me up for an incredible 12 months. I could not have achieved so much success without an incredible team behind me, and inspirational rivals who have always pushed me to be the best version of myself.

Among the evening's other notable honours was the recognition of England midfielder Jude Bellingham, who was named Breakthrough Player of the Year for his standout performances in LaLiga with Real Madrid.

Simone Biles, the resilient gymnastics icon, received the Comeback of the Year Award, celebrating her unwavering determination and resilience in overcoming adversity.

Additionally, Diede de Groot, the exceptional Dutch wheelchair tennis player, was honoured as the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability, while Arisa Trew was recognized as the Action Sportsperson of the Year for her thrilling contributions to extreme sports.

The ceremony also paid tribute to the impactful work of the Rafa Nadal Foundation, which was awarded the Laureus Sport for Good accolade for its transformative initiatives using sport as a vehicle for social change.

The Laureus World Sports Awards, featuring nominees selected by global media and winners determined by the esteemed Laureus World Sports Academy, have been a beacon of excellence since their inception in 2000. This year's event showcased the pinnacle of athletic achievement and celebrated the unwavering spirit and dedication of athletes worldwide.

 

Related items

  • Djokovic battles into second round of French Open after Herbert triumph Djokovic battles into second round of French Open after Herbert triumph

    Novak Djokovic fought off a stern challenge from Pierre-Hugues Hubert to make a successful start to his French Open title defence on Tuesday.

    The world number one held off the challenge of the home favourite to win 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, setting him on his way to a potential 25th Grand Slam title.

    Djokovic enjoyed a fairly comfortable first set but had to work hard to win the second as Hubert took a more aggressive approach. He steadied in time for a crucial tie-break though, holding his nerve to secure it.

    The Serbian regained control in the final set, sealing the win after a double fault from Hubert to set up a second-round tie against Roberto Carballes Baena.

    Data Debrief: Djokovic's title defence off to a good start

    Djokovic (367) trails only Roger Federer (369) for Men’s Singles match wins at Grand Slam events in the Open Era, and could overtake him with a strong showing at the French Open.

    He is now 72-2 in opening round matches at Grand Slam events, winning his past 69 such matches. Djokovic’s last opening round loss came via retirement at the 2011 US Open against Conor Niland.

  • Djokovic decline began some time ago, claims Simon Djokovic decline began some time ago, claims Simon

    Novak Djokovic remains capable of enjoying a successful 2024 but has been declining for some time, believes former world number six Gilles Simon.

    Djokovic won three grand slam singles titles last year to take his overall tally to 24, equalling Margaret Court's overall record among male and female players.

    However, he has been far from his best in 2024, going out to eventual winner Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open semi-finals and failing to capture a single ATP Tour title.

    Djokovic was beaten by Tomas Machac in the last four at the Geneva Open last week and said on Monday he was "not expecting" to retain his French Open crown.

    He begins his Roland-Garros campaign against Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Tuesday.

    Speaking to Stats Perform at the Roland-Garros eSeries by Renault tournament, Simon feels Djokovic's downturn is only natural, given he turned 37 earlier this month.

    Simon said: "You are in a very short media window and it is amazing how things change. Last year when he lost [the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz], I said that for me, he had one year left.

    "It's more a question of age, there's a break around 37 or 38, when it gets tough. He was playing well last year, he won three grand slams, but I've seen him drop for a while now.

    "For me, there were already signs on the court that he's dropping, but he was and still is completely capable of having a great 2024 season. 

    "I have more doubts about the 2025 season, and I already had some last year, above all linked to the physical aspect."

    Despite a difficult few months, Simon has no doubt that Djokovic – who is 14-5 for 2024 – can still put himself in contention for silverware. 

    "Now he's in a slump, so everyone wants to bury him, but he's still capable of playing very well," he continued. 

    "Last year it was [seen as] shameful to say that he was starting to drop, with people saying, 'You're talking rubbish, he's won three grand slams'.

    "If I say now that he's playing well, they'll tell me he's finished, that he lost again in Geneva. Take it easy! We're not going to bury him. Nobody's going to bury Novak and he is still capable of great things.

    "On the other hand, he's like everyone else. He's reaching an age where players like [Rafael] Nadal before him or like [Roger] Federer before him have dropped."

  • Bonmati named Women's Champions League Player of Season for second straight campaign Bonmati named Women's Champions League Player of Season for second straight campaign

    Aitana Bonmati secured the Women's Champions League Player of the Season for a second straight campaign after guiding Barcelona to European glory.

    The Spain international scored in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Lyon in the final, helping Jonatan Giraldez's side clinch an unprecedented quadruple.

    Fellow Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas produced the other goal in that victory, but Bonmati was named Player of the Match after another eye-catching performance.

    With six goals and six assists, the 26-year-old managed more goal contributions than any other player in this season's Champions League, and that earned Bonmati further individual recognition.

    "She influenced the game all over the pitch in and out of possession. High progressive passes, high ball recoveries and scored a great goal," UEFA's technical observer panel said in a statement.

    Bonmati also scored eight goals in Barcelona's victorious Liga F campaign this season, helping the Spanish giants win the competition for a fifth consecutive time.

    Having already won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA's best women's player award for 2023, this UEFA award caps a fine season for the impressive Bonmati.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.