Switzerland’s Roger Federer has been named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year in honour of his domination of men’s tennis in 2004.This content was published on May 17, 2005 - 10:37
Federer, who won three of the four grand slam titles and became the world’s top tennis player last year, claimed his trophy on Monday in front of 460 million television viewers.
The winners were announced at the annual Laureus World Sports Academy award ceremony at Estoril, a Portuguese resort near Lisbon.
"Being nominated by an academy that has so many prestigious sportsmen and women as members was already a huge honour," said Federer as he received his award.
The members of the academy are 40 former sporting greats, including Boris Becker, Sebastian Coe, Pele and Dawn Fraser.
Federer beat off stiff competition to win the prize from Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, 2004 recipient and Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher, six-time Olympic gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps, Olympic 1,500 and 5,000-metre champion Hicham El Guerrouj, and world motorcycling champion Valentino Rossi.
String of awards
The tennis player was honoured a number of times at the end of last year for his achievements, including a second award as Swiss sportsman of the year.
He was also named the BBC’s best overseas sports personality and was crowned European Sportsman of the Year by the European Sports Journalists' Association.
With two grand slam tournaments approaching, Federer is still hoping to repeat last year’s string of victories, despite failing to retain his Australian Open crown in January.
He is one of the favourites to win next week’s French Open at Roland Garros, the only grand slam title missing from his trophy cabinet.
His preparations have gone smoothly so far, with a win at the Hamburg Masters Series on Sunday.
It also remains to be seen whether he can make it three victories in a row at Wimbledon, which gets underway on June 20.
Among the other Laureus award-winners was Britain's Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes, who was named sportswoman of the year.
Greece's soccer team received the team prize for winning Euro 2004.
Liu Xiang was named newcomer of the year for becoming the first Chinese man to win an Olympic short-distance track event, the 110-metre hurdles.
The Boston Red Sox snared the inaugural spirit of sport award for the remarkable feat of winning their first American baseball World Series in 86 years.
The sportsperson with a disability award went to Canadian wheelchair athlete Chantal Petitclerc, who clinched five golds at the Paralympic Games.
swissinfo with agencies
Laureus 2005 winners:
Men: Roger Federer
Women: Kelly Holmes
World team: European football champions Greece
Spirit of Sport award: Boston Red Sox (baseball)
Newcomer: Liu Xiang (athletics)
Comeback: Italian racing driver Alessandro Zanardi.
Disability award: wheelchair athlete Chantal Petitclerc
Alternative sportsperson: British sailor Ellen MacArthur
Sport for Good: Irish boxing coach Gerry Storey
The Laureus World Sports Award is the only international distinction for which both individuals and teams can be nominated at the same time.
Roger Federer is the first Swiss to win the award.
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