Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal and Billie Jean King won top honours at the Laureus Sports Awards, during a digital awards ceremony in Seville.
While Osaka won the Sportswoman of the Year, Nadal picked up the honour for the Sportsman of the Year. WTA co-founder Billie Jean King was given the Lifetime Achievement award.
“I’ve watched so many of my role models win this Award, so it definitely means a lot now to be holding it,” said 23-year-old Osaka. “I am so happy to receive it. It really means a lot to me.
— Laureus (@LaureusSport) May 6, 2021
“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.
“Looking ahead my main hopes for the future would be just to have helped or impacted as many people as I could and, hopefully be a better person.”
Nadal said he was proud to claim the “amazing trophy” of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, having also claimed the prestigious award in 2011.
The 34-year-old won his 13th French Open last year, which brought him level on 20 career Grand Slam men’s singles titles alongside Swiss great Roger Federer.
“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.
“The pandemic that we are facing is something unprecedented and I want to send a message of support to all the families that have suffered or lost somebody.”
The 77-year-old Billie Jean King, who won 39 Grand Slam titles, is also an advocate for gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice.
“I have a vision where the world of sports looks more like our world. Represented equally by people of all genders and all races and cultures, a world where we all have a seat at the table, a voice in the conversation and a chance to lead.”
Laureus award winners:
World Sportswoman of the Year Award: Naomi Osaka
World Sportsman of the Year Award: Rafael Nadal
World Team of the Year Award: Bayern Munich
World Breakthrough of the Year Award: Patrick Mahomes
World Comeback of the Year Award: Max Parrot
Sport for Good Award: Kickformore by Kickfair
Lifetime Achievement Award: Billie Jean King
Athlete Advocate of the Year Award: Lewis Hamilton
Sporting Inspiration Award: Mohamed Salah
Sporting Moment of the Year Award: Chris Nikic