Novak Djokovic received the Laureus Athlete of the Year Award for the fifth time

The Serbian tennis player, who won the 24th Grand Slam in 2023, repeated the distinction he had received in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2019. The Spanish soccer player Aitana Bonmatí won among the women and the American gymnast Simone Biles was also awarded as the comeback of the year.



Aitana Bonmatí won the Laureus Award for the best athlete in 2023 and also won the team award with the Spanish soccer team.
Aitana Bonmatí won the Laureus Award for the best athlete in 2023 and also won the team award with the Spanish soccer team.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic and Spanish soccer player Aitana Bonmatí received the Laureus Award for the most outstanding athletes of 2023, at a ceremony that took place at the Palacio de Cibeles in Madrid and also distinguished, among others, the gymnast Simone Biles as the return of the year.

Djokovic won the Laureus Academy vote against soccer players Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland, the garrochista Mondo Duplantis, the sprinter Noah Lyles and the Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen.

Djokovic reached 24 Grand Slams last year with his victories in Australia, Roland Garros and the United States Open. “It’s an honor to win this prestigious award for the fifth time. These awards were created twenty-five years ago on the premise that sport has the power to change the world, something that is very inspiring for me,” said the Serbian, who had already won the Laureus Prize in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2019.

Among women, the Spanish soccer player Bonmatí was chosen as the best athlete of 2023 and beat skier Mikaela Shiffrin, tennis player Iga Swiatek and athletes Faith Kipyegon, Shericka Jackson and Sha’Carri Richardson in the voting.

“The last year was incredible for me, both with my club and with the Spanish national team, and that’s why I want to share this award with all my teammates. I have no words. It’s something unique that I appreciate very much. Winning this award is different because I share moments with many athletes other than football,” said Bonmatí, chosen Ballon d’Or and the best player in the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“When I was a little girl, it was impossible to have references. They were Xavi, Iniesta and company. Now I am very proud to be a reference for boys and girls. It is important that when they are young they have female references so that when they grow up they have a more egalitarian mentality,” said Bonmatí, who received a double prize because the Spanish football team was chosen as the best team of 2023 over Manchester City, the South African rugby team, the Red Bull team, the European Ryder Cup team and the German men’s basketball team.

Simone Biles won the Laureus Award at the return of the year

The American gymnast returned to competition after two years of absence to take care of her mental health problems, which made her retire in the middle of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

At the 2023 World Cup in Antwerp, Biles won the All Around, floor, bar and team titles, while also winning the silver medal in jumping. Now, the most successful gymnast in history, is preparing to compete in Paris 2024.

Another of the distinguished ones was the Englishman Jude Bellingham, chosen as the revelation of 2023. The Real Madrid player beat British athlete Josh Kerr, Colombian soccer player Linda Caicedo, American tennis player Coco Gauff, Spanish soccer player Salma Paralluelo and Chinese swimmer Qin Haiyang in the vote.

In addition, the Dutch wheelchair tennis player Diede de Groot was awarded the Laureus Award for the best athlete with disabilities; the Australian skater Arisa Trew was chosen as the best action athlete and Rafael Nadal also won his Laureus award when his Foundation was honored. The Spanish tennis player won the award for best athlete in 2011 and 2021, keeping the revelation in 2006 and the reappearance in 2014.

The gala was presented by Cuban-American actor Andy García and had as guests, among others, Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Diego Simeone and Usain Bolt, while Academy members Michael Johnson, Nadia Comaneci, Fabio Capello, Miguel Indurain, Ruud Gullit, Raúl González, Lindsay Vonn and Cafú also attended.

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