With the clay court swing underway, and having already won in Barcelona, Rafael Nadal reached the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open. On the same day, the Spaniard was announced as the 2021 Laureus Sportsman of the Year.
Nadal had previously been bestowed the prestigious award in 2011 and was a nominee in 2009, 2014, 2018 and 2020. The other nominees this year were Joshua Cheptegei, Armand Duplantis, Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James and Robert Lewandowski.
“I want to say thank you very much from the bottom of my heart to the Laureus Academy. I have had some amazing competitors,” Nadal said. “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.
“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.”