Men’s tennis world No.1 Rafael Nadal took out the male sportsman of the year prize at Laureus Sports Awards in Abu Dhabi after his stellar 2010, which included victories in the French and US Opens as well as Wimbledon.
“2010 was an emotional season, especially after I came back after a hard time at the end of 2009,” Nadal, who was nominated for the same award last year and won the 2006 Laureus newcomer’s prize, said.
“To end that cycle with this award, is a dream for me.”
It was a double as well for Nadal’s homeland with the Spanish World Cup winning soccer team claiming the team of the year gong ahead of a field that included Mark Webber’s Red Bull Formula One outfit.
Surfing icon Kelly Slater won the action sportsperson of the year award for the third time.
The 38-year-old accepted the award before talking about the mixed feelings he experience in 2010 by winning his 10th title in Puerto Rico just days after the sudden death of three-time world champion Andy Irons.
“That same week I won my world title so it was a really horrible and wonderful week for me,” he said.
“To have a friend die and to win what’s become a lifelong goal, it was terrible and tragic and also wonderful and amazing all within a couple of days.”