Tennis champion Novak Djokovic. GETTY IMAGES

With four Sportsman of the Year awards, Novak Djokovic is one behind the record held by his former rival Roger Federer. The Serbian is on a shortlist of six alongside the likes of Armand Duplantis, Lionel Messi and Max Verstappen, while fellow tennis player Faith Kipyegon and Aitana Bonmati head the women's nominations.

Djokovic won the last of his four awards back in 2019 and could claim number five when the Laureus Sports Awards Ceremony takes place in Madrid. For the fourth time in his career, he won three of the four Grand Slam tournaments but lost in the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz.

His triumph at the US Open in September saw him match Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 major titles and 'The Joker' - who last received the Laureus Award in 2019, is “thrilled to be nominated once again”.

Swedish pole vaulter Duplantis, better known as 'Mondo', may have given a nudge to the jury by setting a new world record at the Xiamen Diamond League meeting in China on Saturday. Also up against him are two-time winner Messi, who claimed last year's title after leading Argentina to the FIFA World Cup, and F1 superstar Verstappen who scooped the award in 2022 and scored 19 race wins last season including 10 in succession.

Completing the shortlist for the Sportsman Of The Year Awards are Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, who helped fire Manchester City to the English Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, and American sprinter Noah Lyles after his three golds at last year's World Athletics Championships. Usain Bolt, a four-time Laureus award winner, was the last man to complete the sprint treble at the World Championships and will be attending the event on Monday.

The awards, held annually since 2000, are decided by a jury comprising 69 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy representing the past 50 years of athletic excellence. The event prides itself on remaining “the gold standard for the stars of world sport, who each year hope to see their names added to a list of winners that includes all-time greats”. 

“I have won this award four times, and each one has been very special and unforgettable in its own way,” said Djokovic. “It’s an honour unlike any other because it’s the Laureus Academy who make the decision, and they know what it’s like to reach the summit of their sport, and what it takes to stay there.”

Academy members include football greats Luís Figo, Ruud Gullit and Alessandro Del Piero, and pioneers like Morocco's Nawal El Moutawakel whose 400m hurdles gold at Los Angeles 1984 saw her become the first woman from an Islamic nation to win Olympic gold.

On the women’s front, Bonmatí will be the hometown favourite after achieving great success at club and international level. The 26-year-old collected the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament as Spain secured a first FIFA Women's World Cup crown. She also won Spain's Liga F and the UEFA Women's Champions League with FC Barcelona, as well as taking the Ballon d'Or baton from Spain and Barca team-mate Alexia Putellas.

Aitana Bonmati, playing with Spain. GETTY IMAGES
Aitana Bonmati, playing with Spain. GETTY IMAGES

Kipyegon completed a unique women's 1500m and 5000m double at the Budapest World Championships with the Kenyan also breaking three world records on the Diamond League. Sprinters Sha'Carri Richardson and Shericka Jackson have also been nominated after winning golds in Budapest. Richardson ended Jamaica's dominance of the 100m and won the 4x100m relay, while Jackson was just seven-hundredths outside Florence Griffith-Joyner's world record in winning the 200m.

Alpine skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin is also nominated after she overtook Ingemar Stenmark's record of 86 World Cup wins and claimed a seventh world title. Her good friend Iga Swiatek completes the list with the Pole claiming her third French Open title in 2023 as well as regaining her number one spot in the tennis world rankings by winning the WTA Finals in Cancun.

The other honours to be handed out at the gala include Team, Breakthrough, Comeback, Action Sportsperson and Sportsperson with a Disability, as well as the Laureus Sport for Good Award.