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Novak Djokovic lights up the AS Sports awards gala

The Serbian tennis star was one of the leading protagonists at Tuesday's AS Sports Awards gala along with Benzema, Atlético Madrid, Badosa, Alcaraz...

Novak Djokovic lights up the AS Sports awards gala

This evening the 15th edition of the AS Sports Awards will take place at the Hotel Palace in Madrid and among those who will receive awards is Novak Djokovic, who during 2021 came close to achieving the holy grail of four Grand Slams in one year (he won the Australia Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon and only missed out on the US Open after losing to Daniil Medvedev). It allowed him to equal the 20 grand slams held by Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer to claim his place as one of the greatest tennis players and sportsmen in history.

The Serbian ace is currently resting in Belgrade, together with his family, after a gruelling season  in which he also attempted to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics (he lost the bronze medal match to Pablo Carreño) as well as a second Davis Cup for his country. Serbia made it to the semi-finals at the Madrid Arena, and Djokovic was presented an award designed by Xavier Mariscal, the creator of Cobi - the mascot for the Barcelona Games in 1992.

"There are many other champions in the history of sport who have received this award in recognition of their achievements. I am very proud, happy and thankful to be awarded it and I hope that I can continue playing well. It's really nice," Nole explained, making an effort to speak in Spanish after receiving the award from AS Director Vicente Jiménez.

Djokovic is the latest in a long line of figures from the world of sport who have been awarded accolades at the AS Sports Awards - stars such as Rafa Nadal, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sebastian Coe, Javier Sotomayor, Egan Bernal, Raúl, Alberto Contador, Iker Casillas, Diego Simeone... Novak was delighted to be honoured by the country of his great rivals and friend, Rafa Nadal, with whom he is enjoys a competitive rivalry which will be remembered forever. They have faced each other 58 times - the most repeated duel in tennis history  and whenver one of the them wins an award, it is alway in recognition of their battles out on court.

AS Sports Awards winners and guests

The 2021 AS Sports awards will be broadcast live from 19:30 hours CET on AS.com and gracing the red carpet this year will be a host of award winners - Karim Benzema, representatives from Atlético Madrid and Villarreal, Luis Suárez, Alexia Putellas, Paula Badosa, Carlos Alcaraz, Saúl Craviotto, Sandra Sánchez, Alberto Ginés, Alberto Fernández and Fátima Gálvez, Teresa Portela, Yulimar Rojas, Ana Peleteiro, Felipe Reyes, Susana Rodríguez and the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation.