Tennis stars Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka claim Laureus Awards honours

Spaniard Rafa Nadal has been named 2021 Laureus Sportsman of the Year, with fellow tennis star Naomi Osaka winning top women's honours.

Japan's Osaka won her second US Open title last year, while Nadal equalled Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam titles by claiming his 13th French Open crown.

Nadal picked up his fourth Laureus crown, after previously scooping breakthrough, comeback and men's individual awards.

"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," says Nadal, 34.

"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."

Laureus has hailed Osaka's "powerful statement" at the US Open to support the 'Black Lives Matter' campaign, as she highlighted racial injustice by wearing different face masks, bearing the names of African Americans who died in recent years.

"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," she said.

Tennis dominated the digital awards ceremony in Seville, as American great Billie Jean King received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

German football champions Bayern Munich, who won last season's Champions League, were named the Team of the Year.

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton claimed the inaugural Athlete Advocate of the Year Award for his involvement in the fight against racism.

NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes, 24, won the Breakthrough of the Year Award, after helping Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl appearance and win in 50 years.

List of Laureus Award 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: Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot 


Lifetime Achievement: Billie Jean King

Athlete Advocate of the Year: Lewis Hamilton

Sporting Inspiration: Liverpool footballer Mohamed Salah

Sporting Moment of the Year: American triathlete Chris Nikic