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Novak Djokovic won the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award in London on Monday evening in recognition of his torrid 2011 season. Accompanied by girlfriend Jelena Ristic, Nole worked the event – from red carpet to acceptance speech – like a Hollywood veteran. The man’s on fire.
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Some video of the ceremony is below. It’s hard to hear with the voice over, but I enjoyed Nole’s Oscars routine (look surprised, kiss girlfriend, speech!). At least at the Laureus Awards the the winners can actually talk for a while instead of being played off the stage.
“It’s a spectacular feeling”, Novak said in a post-win interview, expanding on his winning attitude:
In the past ten years, a tennis player has won Sportsman of the Year six times (Federer four times in a row, Nadal and Nole both with one) and Sportswoman of the Year four times (Capriati and Henin once, Serena twice) – Boris Becker must be a very influential member of the Laureus jury!
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It’s getting a little spooky, lately, watching Novak follow so quickly in the footsteps of two guys who aren’t just legends of tennis, but the current No. 2 and No. 3 players in the world. It really was only a couple of seasons ago that Nole seemed to be in free fall, a puzzling and puzzled One Slam Wonder. Now he’s hoovering up Majors and accolades, exhausting and demoralizing his rivals and showing the world he has no plans to rest on his “Laureus.” He told reporters that the trophy he’s really coveting this year is La Coupe des Mousquetaires:
“I have to stay optimistic, believe in what I can do, believe in my abilities and believe that I can win on all surfaces,” Djokovic said (via USA Today). “I have proven on numerous occasions that I can really be one of the candidates to win every Grand Slam on every surface. I need to keep that up. Roland Garros is the one to win this year.“
Somewhere in Spain, Uncle Toni turns to Rafa and says: Time to get ready for an eight hour final.
Here’s Nole looking and feeling confident at the welcome party on Sunday:
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And hobnobbing with heads of state at a Laureus reception at 10 Downing Street.
REUTERS/Olivia Harris via Daylife
You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand Majors. . .or at least a French Open or two.