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Emotional scenes as Vonn, Djokovic and Biles win Laureus Awards

World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic crowned a winning return to the courts after surgery with the Laureus sportsman of the year award on Monday (February 18), while American gymnast Simone Biles won the sportswoman of the year prize.

Serbian Djokovic, who 12 months ago had elbow surgery, won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2018, before lifting this year’s Australian Open crown, to add to his tally of Grand Slam singles titles and reclaim top spot in the rankings.

With his record seventh crown at Melbourne Park, Djokovic moved ahead of Pete Sampras into third on the men’s all-time list of Grand Slam title winners (15), just two behind Rafa Nadal. Roger Federer is still out in front with 20.

Multiple Olympic champion Biles in November became the all-time leading world gymnastics championship gold medal winner with a record 14 golds.

With 20 overall medals at the worlds, Biles, who has also won four Olympic golds, tied Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina for the most by a female gymnast in world championships competition. Her all-around world title was her fourth, also a record.

Recently retired U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn, who was honored for her many career achievements with the Spirit of Sports award, wept onstage as she reflected on her career and spoke of how she would miss competing.

French football manager Arsene Wenger, who quit after 22 years as manager of English Premier League side Arsenal at the end of last season, was reunited with former player Cesc Fabregas who presented the 69-year-old with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

(Production: Francis Maguire)

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