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Rafael Nadal, Iga Swiatek Among 2023 Laureus World Sports Award Nominees

Grand Slam champions make a major mark on the Laureus World Sports awards.

Reigning Roland Garros champions Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek are each nominated as Laureus World Sportsman of the Year and Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year respectively.

The Laureus World Sports award nominees were announced today and tennis is represented by five champions in five different categories.

Winners will be decided by 71 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy – Olympic champions, world record holders, athletes who changed the game, and the ultimate jury on sporting greatness.

This Spring, winners will be announced across categories including: Sportswoman of the Year; Sportsman of the Year; Team of the Year, Breakthrough of the Year, Comeback of the Year, Action Sportsperson of the Year and Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. Nominations in these categories come from the 1400 members of the Global Media Panel, ensuring credibility, quality and a global perspective across all of Laureus Awards.

Nadal ended 2022 standing alone as the Grand Slam king with 22 major championships, a mark rival Novak Djokovic matched winning his 10th Australian Open title. Nadal heads Sportsman of the Year nominees.  Lionel Messi collected the one prize that had eluded him by leading Argentina to the World Cup. Kylian Mbappé’s hat-trick in the final earned him the Golden Boot as the World Cup’s leading goalscorer.  Max Verstappen joins Messi and Nadal as past winners of this Award on the 2023 shortlist after defending his Formula One world title. Mondo Duplantis broke the pole vault world record on three occasions and won world titles indoors and out. Steph Curry led the Golden State Warriors to a fourth NBA championship in eight years.

Swiatek amassed a record 37-match winning streak and captured Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and the US Open in 2022.

The race for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award includes two athletes who lit up the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce became a five-time champion over 100m, while Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone added the world title to her Olympic crown with an unforgettable world record in the 400m hurdles. At the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Katie Ledecky won four golds, taking her total to 22, a record for a female swimmer. Alexia Putellas led FC Barcelona to a perfect season in the Spanish league and claimed a second Ballon d’Or. Mikaela Shiffrin regained her overall title at the Alpine Ski World Cup and closed in on the all-time record for wins, while Iga Świątek emerged from 2022 as the undisputed No.1 in women’s tennis, winning in Paris and New York.

US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz and Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina are nominated in the Breakthrough of the Year category.

The Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award identifies those athletes and teams who took a giant step forward in the past year. For some, one big win lit up their name; for others, sustained excellence made for a changing of the guard at the top of their sport.

Two meteoric tennis talents are among the nominees: Carlos Alcaraz gave a preview of the next era in the men’s game, winning the US Open to end the year as the sport’s youngest-ever No.1-ranked player. In the women’s game, Elena Rybakina won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. Scottie Scheffler won The Masters and tied for second at the US Open on his way to becoming golf’s No.1. Also nominated are the Morocco Men’s Football Team who captivated the world on their adventure to the semi-finals of the World Cup; Nathan Chen, the figure skater who added Olympic gold to a world title; and Tobi Amusan, who broke the 100m hurdles world record on the way to claiming Nigeria’s first-ever gold medal at the World Athletics Championships.

Diede de Groot completed back-to-back calendar Grand Slams to set a new standard in wheelchair tennis and earn her place among the nominees for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.

Catherine Debrunner broke world records in T53 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m on her home track in Switzerland, then moved up to marathon, winning on her debut in Berlin, and in London. After a break of over two years from competitive swimming, New Zealand’s Cameron Leslie – who also competes in wheelchair rugby as a Wheel Black – won S4 100m freestyle gold at the World Para Swimming Championships. At the Winter Paralympics in China, Declan Farmer led USA to a third consecutive gold medal in Ice Hockey and was the tournament’s top scorer; Jesper Saltvik Pedersen won four golds on the slopes; and the multi-sport phenomenon Oksana Masters added another chapter to her legend with double gold in the para biathlon.