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Djokovic, Serena win top Laureus awards

Djokovic beat Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi, sprinter Usain Bolt and Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton.

Tennis player Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with his Laureus World Sportsman of the Year trophy at the Laureus World Sports 2016 Awards Ceremony in Berlin on 18 April, 2016. Picture: AFP.

BERLIN - World number ones Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams completed a clean sweep for tennis as they won the Laureus Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards on Monday.

In a glitzy ceremony in the German capital, hosted by US actor Bill Murray, Serbia's Djokovic beat Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi, sprinter Usain Bolt and Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton among others for the top men's award at the annual ceremony.

Djokovic and American Williams, who fought off competition from footballer Carli Lloyd and Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce among others, were rewarded for dominating their sport last year, with each winning three of the four grand slams.

Both athletes picked up the top prize for the third time, with Williams having previously won it in 2003 and 2010 while Djokovic was also victorious in 2012 and 2015.

Golfer Jordan Spieth won the Breakthrough of the Year award after capturing his first two majors at the 2015 US Masters and US Open, while New Zealand's All Blacks won Team of the Year award following their World Cup victory.

There was some joy for the host nation as well with triathlete Jan Frodeno grabbing the Action Sportsperson of the Year prize.

Dutch footballer and coach Johan Cruyff, who died of cancer in March, was posthumously awarded the Spirit of Sport award. His son Jordi received the award.

PIETER DU PREEZ MISSES OUT

In a glittering ceremony in South Africa's Pieter du Preez missed out on winning the Laureus World Sportsperson of The Year award with a disability to Brazil's Daniel Dias.

While there was some local cheer, of sorts, as German triathlete Jan Frodeno won the action sportsperson of the year award.

Du Preez won't be disappointed as he felt just the mere fact that his discipline had been recognised was victory in itself, he lost out Dias who won eight medals in the pool at last year's Paralympic World Champions.

While Frodeno, the first man ever to win Olympic gold and the world Ironman championships, saw off the likes of mick fanning and Bob Burnquist to win the award.

Frodeno went to high school in Cape Town and despite competing for Germany still in many respects sees himself as South African.

The #LWSA16, as the hashtag went, certainly had wide appeal as it made return to Europe after visiting shanghai last year.

The red carpet had the requisite black tie and eye-watering dazzled dresses, a concept car from sponsors Mercedes and a social media zone for celebrities and guests to share their status to the world.

Inside was even grander, Bill Murray wore more outfits than Curry Wurst outlets in Berlin, he sang a duet with Ed Moses, and also praised gymnast Nadia Comaneci on marrying a fellow gymnast and there were performances from break-dancers and artists to wow.

Kate Abdo was the glue that held the event together, that as always resonated around the world with its ambition to do good, Nelson Mandela words, although heard over and over, still providing that chill down one's spine, sport has the power to change world.

It does indeed.

Additional information by Reuters.