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Rafa Nadal, Paz Vega Bring Spanish Flavor To Laureus Awards

Rafael Nadal, who captured his 20th career Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros, is one of six nominees for Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. Photo credit: EPA

The Laureus World Sports Awards will pop with Spanish superstar flavor next month.

The prestigious 2021 Laureus Awards Show will be hosted by Spanish actress Paz Vega in her home city of Seville on May 6th.

“It is an unbelievable honor to be able to present such a major event from my home city, to celebrate the best of sport with Seville as a backdrop,” Vega said. “I attended the Laureus Awards in Abu Dhabi, when Boris Becker and I presented the Sportsman of the Year Award to my great friend Rafael Nadal. 

“And now we have the chance to put the Awards show together here in Seville.  Although we can’t host the Nominees and Winners in person, I have seen how they are all preparing for the virtual event. It’s very exciting.”

The world’s eyes will be on Rafael Nadal, who is nominated for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award. Nadal earned his eighth career Laureus World Sports nomination following a historic 2020 season. Last season, Nadal demolished rival Novak Djokovic in the French Open final to collect a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title in October. It was his 20th career Grand Slam title and brought him level with Roger Federer for the all-time men’s major mark. Nadal also earned his 100th win at Roland Garros, losing only two matches in 16 years in Paris. 

Nadal is a three-time Laureus World Sports award winner: 2006 (Breathrough of the Year), 2011 (Sportsman of the Year) and 2014 (Comeback of the Year).

The 34-year-old Spaniard is among an impressive list of the most outstanding sports performers from 2020, including Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James, Robert Lewandowski, Naomi Osaka, Federica Brignone, Iga Swiatek, Tadej Pogacar, Dominic Thiem, Mikaela Shiffrin and top teams Bayern Munich, Liverpool FC, Los Angeles Lakers and Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One.

Naomi Osaka is nominated for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award. EPA-EFE/DAVE HUNT AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Osaka, who rallied past Victoria Azarenka to win her second US Open championship last September, has also emerged as a strong voice for social justice and an advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The four-time Grand Slam champion is one of six women nominated for Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year. The reigning Australian Open champion previously won Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year honors in 2019. It is Osaka’s third career Laureus World Sports Award nomination.

Spanish actress Paz Vega will host the Laureus World Sports Awards on May 6th in Seville, Spain. Photo credit: Laureus World Sports Awards

 For the full list of Nominees in five categories, click here

As well as recognizing the most memorable sporting performances in a year disrupted by the pandemic, there will be additional special Awards acknowledging the wider impact on society made by athletes. In line with the focus of Laureus on Sport for Good, the 2021 Awards will tell the inspirational stories of people who have worked to combat the pandemic, and will highlight the advocacy of sportsmen and sportswomen who have used their positions of influence to make a powerful impact on issues and conflicts which go beyond sport.  

The Awards showcase the work of Laureus Sport for Good, which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, proving that sport can change the world. Today Laureus supports more than 250 programs in over 40 countries. Depending on location, the 2021 Awards Show can be enjoyed on television.