Ah yes, the European ESPYS. Except these, like, are kind of a big deal (at least in countries where tennis is a respected mainstream sport and not a suspect “other” activity.)
Tennis is usually well-represented at the annual Laureus World Sports Awards but this time it’s an absolute tennispalooza, judging from the nominations announced on Tuesday. The awards recognize achievement in the past year, and apparently 2010 was a very good year for tennis.
Rafael Nadal is a contender for Sportsman of the Year. He’s been nominated before, for his achievements in 2008, but faced tough competition due to the summer Olympics. (He won Laureus World Newcomer of the Year in 2006.) This time, it’s the World Cup that may spoil it for him, though I’m sure the avid futbol fan won’t mind in the least if buddy and fellow nominee Andres Iniesta steals his Laureus thunder. There are some other giant names in this category, including Kobe Bryant, Manny Pacquiao, Lionel Messi and German Formula One racer Sebastian Vettel. But we all know how Rafa loves to rise to the occasion.
The WTA almost took over the Sportswoman of the Year category, with Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters all nominated. Fedophile and Olympic gold medalist, Lindsey Vonn, is also a contender, along with Jessica Ennis (athletics) and Blanka Vlasic (high jump). I’m not sure what Laureus meant when summarizing Caroline’s credentials: “became world No 1, at 20, without having won a Grand Slam.” So that’s a good thing or just a fact?
Justine Henin is a contender for Laureus World Comeback of the Year and wheelchair tennis champ Esther Vergeer is recognized for her amazing eight year long winning streak in the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability category.
The winners will be chosen by a jury of the “46 greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time,” with final selections announced at a televised awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday, February 7.