World number one men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic has been named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for the fourth time after returning from a long injury layoff to win Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018.
The 31-year-old Serbian received his prize at the Laureus Sports Awards Ceremony at the Sporting Monte-Carlo in Monaco, at which United States gymnastics sensation Simone Biles was named Sportswoman of the Year.
She gained that prize after wining four gold medals, a silver and a bronze at the 2018 World Gymnastics Championships in Doha, despite being admitted to hospital with a kidney stone on the eve of the event.
In total she now has 14 world gold medals and has already become the first woman to win four all-around world titles, at the age of just 21.
"A Laureus Award is what every athlete wants to win, and this one is a huge honour for me," Djokovic said.
"Being among so many sporting greats here tonight, and hearing about the inspirational work Laureus is doing around the world, gives this Award a special meaning for me."
Djokovic’s return to the top of the tennis world was considered by many as remarkable after he had surgery on a persistent elbow problem in February last year having already taken six-months out from the sport.
Coming back in time for Wimbledon, which he won, the now 15-time Grand Slam champion rapidly returned to his best, regaining the world number one spot in October before winning the last Grand Slam of the year at the US Open.
He has since started 2019 with a record seventh victory at the Australian Open, where he obliterated rival Rafael Nadal in the final 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to leave some questioning whether he is the greatest tennis player of all time.
"Last year was an incredible season for me, returning from injury to win Wimbledon and the US Open is something I’ll remember forever," Djokovic said.
"I am delighted and I would like to thank the Laureus Academy for their support."
Other award winners included women’s tennis player Naomi Osaka from Japan, who claimed the Breakthrough Award after beating 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams to win the 2018 US Open.
She followed that up with victory at the Australian Open in January to become world number one at just 21-years-old.
US golfer Tiger Woods won Comeback of the Year after returning from a series of injuries and personal issues to win the Professional Golfers Association Tour Championship and 2018 FIFA World Cup champions France were named Team of the Year.
US snowboarding superstar Chloe Kim, 17, won Action Sportsperson of the Year after becoming the youngest woman to win a Winter Olympic snowboarding gold medal at Pyeongchang 2018
Slovakia's Henrieta Farkašová was named Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.
She gained that prize along with her guide Natalia Subrtova, after winning four gold medals in the visually impaired alpine skiing events at Pyeongchang 2018 to become the most decorated Winter Paralympian.
Former manager of Arsenal Football Club Arsene Wenger was given the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award and recently retired Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn received The Spirit of Sport Award, given at the discretion of the Laureus Academy, for "remarkable success" and "relentless dedication" to her sport.
Vonn retired after the 2019 World Alpine Skiing Championships in Åre having gained 82 World Cup victories, as well as three Olympic and eight World Championship medals throughout her career.
Lastly, Chinese climber Xia Boyu gained the Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year prize after the double amputee successfully climbed Everest.
In doing so he became only the second double amputee to do so.