Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2024

Novak Djokovic equals Roger Federer record with fifth Laureus Sports Award

Novak Djokovic has matched rival Roger Federer after being named ‘Sportsman of the Year’ at the Laureus Sports Awards for a fifth time.

Djokovic was amongst many other big sporting names at the 25th annual Laureus Sports Awards in Madrid, including retired Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt and footballer Jude Bellingham.

The Serbian was not the only tennis name in the house either, with Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Alex de Minaur and British No.1 Katie Boulter also present.

When it came to the ‘Sportsman of the Year Award’ being announced, Djokovic overcame fellow nominees including footballers Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland to receive the honour for a joint-record fifth time.

This is the first time that Djokovic has received this award since 2019, after winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open all last year.

As a result, the Serbian is now level with Federer as the men to have received the most ‘Sportsman of the Year’ awards in their respective careers.

Djokovic spoke about the power of the Laureus Sports Awards in his speech, “I am truly blessed to be among sports greats as a winner, but also as a supporter and admirer of Laureus Sport for Good as I too believe in the power of sport to make a difference in the world.

“Finally, this Laureus Statuette stands alone because it represents more than sporting achievement. The Laureus mission of using sport as a power for good has been changing lives for 25 years and embodies the values of its founding patron, Nelson Mandela. I want to add my support to Laureus Sport for Good and the work they are doing to transform lives around the world.”

It was not just Djokovic from the tennis world receiving a Laureus Award, with Nadal also being given the ‘Laureus Sport for Good Award’ due to the work that his foundation has done to help over 1,000 vulnerable young people in Spain and India.

Diede de Groot, who is a record 39-time Grand Slam champion in wheelchair tennis, was honoured as the ‘Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability’.

Although the awards were held in Madrid, Djokovic will not be playing at the Masters 1000 event this week after withdrawing from the tournament for a second consecutive year.

Inside the baseline…

It is an incredible achievement to win one Laureus Sport Award considering that you are competing against so many different sportspeople, but to win five is incredible. However, it is difficult to argue that Djokovic doesn’t deserve it after only losing one Grand Slam match last year in a five set thriller against Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final. It is nice to see Diede de Groot honoured as well, with the Dutch woman winning 14 consecutive singles major titles – which is truly astonishing.

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic withdraws from Madrid Masters for second consecutive year

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.