Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka fly the tennis flag as they win Laureus awards

Novak Djokovic with Laureus World Sports Award

Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka flew the tennis flag pretty high at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards as they walked away with the sportsman of the year award and breakthrough of the year award respectively.

Djokovic won his fourth Laureus gong as he beat off competitive from France footballer Kylian Mbappe, American basketball player LeBron James and Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge.

After struggling with form and injury at the backend of the 2017 season and the early half of 2018, the Serb turned his fortunes around as he won Wimbledon and the US Open, and finished the year as the world No 1.

“A Laureus Award is what every athlete wants to win, and this one is a huge honour for me,” Djokovic, who also won the award in 2012, 2015 and 2016, said.

“Being among so many sporting greats here tonight… gives this award a special meaning for me. Last year was an incredible season for me. Returning from injury to win Wimbledon and the US Open is something I’ll remember forever.”

Osaka won the breakthrough award on the back of winning her maiden Grand Slam at the US Open last year.

The Japanese star started the 2018 season outside the world top 50, but finished inside the top five after beating Serena Williams in the final at Flushing Meadows.

Osaka saw off the challenge from Great Britain’s Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, Spanish motor cyclist Ana Carrasco and Jamaican athlete Brianna Williams to win her first Laureas award.

“I want to give a huge thank you to the Laureus Academy for giving me the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year award,” she said via a video message. “I want to thank my coaching staff and my family for being with me for these entire years.
“I also want to [acknowledge] the other nominees, and thank the Laureus Academy for nominating me for such a prestigious award.”

More from Tennis365: