The favourite won it again. World No.1 tennis star Novak Djokovic was voted for the second successive year as the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year in a glittering ceremony in Berlin on Monday.
Djokovic had a near perfect season last year, winning 11 titles, including three Grand Slams (Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open) and the ATP World Tour finals. Djokovic’s win-loss record was jaw dropping too where he went 82-6 throughout the year.
And the 58 academy members recognized these jaw dropping numbers to vote for the Serb in this category ahead of sports superstars like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, sprint king Usain Bolt, Formula One’s reigning champion Lewis Hamilton and golf’s new sensation Jordan Spieth.
Djokovic, who was handed the statuette by Mercedes’ driver Nico Rosberg, dedicated his win to late Johan Cruyff and motorsports legend Niki Lauda, both of whom were also received special awards on the night. An emotional Jordi, Cruff’s son, received the Spirit of Sports award on behalf of his late father. Lauda was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award.
Dutch and football great Cruff, who shaped modern football with his attacking and fluent playing style both as player and coach, died of cancer last month. Lauda was the only racer to have won racing titles with both Ferrari and McLaren.
Djokovic was sitting in the front row when the audio visual about both the legends were played in their honour and he said it made him emotional and made him forgot his speech that he had written for the ceremony.
“I needed to dedicate my award for these two people, who not only did exceptionally well in their sport but touched the lives of many,” he said.
Serena Williams was named World Sportswoman of the year. Unlike Djokovic, Williams skipped the ceremony. New Zealand’s rugby team the All Blacks were the night’s big winner as they walked away with the Team of the Year award, while Dan Carter, their fly-half was named as the winner for Comeback of the Year award for fashioning the world cup win.
Spieth who lost to Djokovic for the big award did greet his consolation as he was named as the Big Breakthrough of the Year.
Djokovic dismisses claims
Minutes after winning his third Laureus award Novak Djokovic dismissed claims that some of the top tennis stars are suspected of doping.
Andy Murray was quoted in the British press saying that he did suspect some of his contemporaries as “they didn’t seem to be getting tired”. But Djokovic said there was no truth behind Murray’s comments and toed the line of his coach Boris Becker saying all these allegations lack proof.
“No I do not share his concerns,” Djokovic said when quizzed about Murray’s suspicions. “I have read what Murray had to say but I don’t think he meant anything wrong. But you keep hearing rumours about doping, betting and it seems the weight has come down on tennis.
“It all comes down to anti-doping bodies to prove them otherwise they remain just rumours. I am proud of the sport it is a clean sports for me,” he added.