Rafael Nadal: 'Winning Roland Garros and equaling Roger Federer's record was..'
For the second time in his career, the Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal earned the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year! It is the second Laureus honor for Nadal and the first in ten years, as he becomes the third tennis player with multiple awards after Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who are on nine combined.
Nadal earned the award in front of Joshua Cheptegei, Armand Duplantis, Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James and Robert Lewandowski, mainly thanks to his 13th Roland Garros crown and the 20th Major that put him on the level terms with Roger Federer for the first time.
In an emotional speech with the trophy in his hands, Rafa said that the winning of the 20th Major title was an incredible moment, especially after battling against Roger for 15 years. Roland Garros was the last season's final Major, and Nadal's chance to save 2020 after competing at only a couple of tournaments that year.
Despite challenging conditions in Paris in October, the Spaniard proved his greatness again, defeating all seven rivals in straight sets to extend his clay-court dominance at 34 and enter the record books. Nadal had to dig deep against Jannik Sinner and Diego Schwartzman in the quarters and the semis, entering the final with a massive boost and toppling world no.
1 Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 for one of the most outstanding moments of his glorious career.
Rafael Nadal shared thoughts about winning Laureus World Sports Award.
"I want to say thank you very much from the bottom of my heart to the Laureus Academy.
I have had some fantastic competitors. The rest of the sportsmen probably deserve the trophy the same as me, but this was my year, and I can't be happier. Winning the French Open and equalling Roger Federer's record of 20 Major titles 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 extraordinary after all the history we have had together on and off the 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," Rafael Nadal said.