World No.1 Rafael Nadal has once again won the ATP’s Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. Nadal won the award for the second consecutive year, after being voted solely by the players as their favourite for it. The Spaniard had first won the award in 2010 for his professionalism, fair play and integrity on and off the court. Reacting to the award, Nadal thanked his fellow players for bestowing the honour on him. He said that coming from his peers, the award was even more special.
If Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas were to play against each other in the Australian Open Final on February 2nd, I doubt it could be more intense than the **exhibition** match they just played for 3+ hours in Abu Dhabi. They only know one way.— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) December 21, 2019
Interestingly, earlier this year, Nadal had teased Federer over the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award, pointing out that his arch-rival had won the award for a record 13 times. Nadal had wondered if he stood a chance this year, considering the Swiss’ record. It seems the award was his all along.
Rafael Nadal has won an ATP Award in every player-voted category. He won the Best Newcomer Award in 2003, the Most Improved Player in 2005 and the Best Comeback Award in 2013. Nadal won the Sportsmanship Award in 2010, 2018 and 2019. The Spaniard also won the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year award in 2011.
GRACIAS, @RafaelNadal‼️— Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar (@rnadalacademy) December 13, 2019
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The 33-year-old Spaniard has been the most consistent player of 2019, reaching the semi-final of all but two ATP tournaments. He won 58 of his 65 matches. Rafael Nadal claimed four titles — Rome Masters, French Open, Rogers Cup and the US Open. He surpassed Djokovic in the closing stages of the season to secure his spot as World No.1.
Meanwhile, Federer remained the fans’ favourite player, winning the award for 17th straight year. He shared the award with US doubles pair Bob and Mike Bryan, who won it for the record 14th time. Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray, who underwent hip surgery in January, won the Comeback Player of the Year. He won one doubles and singles title each respectively on his return in late 2019.