Novak Djokovic, Paula Badosa and Carlos Alcaraz honored at the 2021 AS Sports Gala
Tennis superstars Novak Djokovic, Paula Badosa and Carlos Alcaraz were among the honorees at the 2021 AS Sports Gala on Tuesday night. This was the 15th edition of the prestigious event.
Held at the Palace Hotel in Madrid, a host of athletes from various sports gathered to receive their 2021 AS Sports Awards, presented by Spanish daily sports newspaper Diario AS.
Men’s World No. 32 Carlos Alcaraz was conferred the AS Sporting Promise Award, the third tennis player to be bestowed with the honor. Previous recipients of the award were Paula Badosa in 2015 and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in 2017.
Speaking at the ceremony, Alcaraz hoped that this would be the first of many more awards to come.
“I hope it is the beginning of something great, Alcaraz said. “I am going to put the award in the best place in my house,” he added.
Alcaraz had a prolific 2021 season that saw him climb the rankings from World No. 141 at the start of the year to 32 by the end of the season. The 18-year-old won the Next Generation ATP Finals to win his first ever ATP title. The Spaniard defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round of the US Open, recording the biggest win of his career.
Paulo Badosa was also present at the gala to receive an AS Sport Award granted to honor her memorable 2021 season. Badosa rose from World No. 70 at the start of the year to finish the season at No. 8.
She also won her maiden WTA title this year, and reached the semifinals of the WTA Finals. The 24-year-old recalled the speech she gave six years ago when she received the Promise Award, remarking that her dreams had turned into reality due to the hard work she had put in.
“My words that day were “I hope I return” and it is already a reality,” Badosa said. “The work is done. If you fight and trust, dreams come true ”, she added.
Other attendees of the event included Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema (AS Sports Award), Atletico Madrid striker Luis Suarez (America Award) and Spanish basketball legend Felipe Reyes (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Novak Djokovic could not attend the gala
Novak Djokovic had been presented with the award after his Davis Cup Finals match at Madrid
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic also won an AS Sports Award, but could not attend the ceremony as he was in Serbia with his family, preparing to leave for the 2022 ATP Cup in Sydney. Djokovic has been named on the list of Serbian players participating in the tournament.
The award had been handed over to Djokovic when he played in the Davis Cup Finals at the Madrid Arena. Receiving the award, Djokovic expressed his delight at joining the long list of former winners and looked forward to sustaining his form.
“There are many other champions in the history of sport who have received this award in recognition of their achievements,” Djokovic said. “I am very proud, happy and thankful to be awarded it and I hope that I can continue playing well,” he added.”