Tennis legend Roger Federer has won the 2017 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year and Comeback of the Year awards.
The 36-year-old was awarded the coveted gongs in Monaco on Tuesday, after he became the oldest-ever player to be ranked No.1 earlier this year.
Federer, who holds the men’s record for grand slam titles with 20, won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles last season after seven years without a major.
“I didn’t believe I would ever come back to this level,” he said. “The year I had was something else.”
Federer said he didn’t expect to win either award – beating out fellow tennis great Rafael Nadal and Real Madrid’s Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo for the sportsman of the year award – making it a special moment for him.
“It was an unforgettable year for me; to come back after a very difficult 2016 and these awards just make it even more memorable,” he said.
“This means the world to me. The comebacks are always extremely emotional. Last year was a dream come true.”
The Swiss star dropped out of the top 15 in the rankings when a knee injury forced him to shut down his 2016 season prematurely.
He won the Australian Open and Wimbledon last year and then extended his record haul of Grand Slam titles to 20 last month by successfully defending his title at Melbourne Park in January.
Another tennis star, Serena Williams, won her fifth statuette by claiming the sportswoman award after winning her 23rd Grand Slam title in 2017.
Formula one constructors’ champions Mercedes picked up the Team of the Year accolade, while wheelchair athlete Marcel Hug won Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.
The Swiss superstar beat Australia’s Olympic and world champion hurdler Sally Pearson’s return to the top after years battling serious injuries to win the Comeback of the Year award.
Pearson, 31, overcame serious wrist, hamstring and achilles tendon injuries to win her second 100 metres hurdles world championship last year.
The 2012 Olympic gold medallist, who was among six vying for the 2017 comeback award, congratulated the Swiss maestro.
“Congrats to @rogerfederer on winning the @LaureusSport award for comeback of the year and Laureus Male athlete of the year! A true inspiration,” Pearson tweeted.
The result of the comeback award was keenly followed after controversial American sprinter Justin Gatlin was nominated.
The 2004 Olympic champion, twice suspended for drug use, was recognised for beating Usain Bolt on his way to the 100m world championship.
Other nominees were Spanish football powerhouse Barcelona, Italian motorcyclist Valentino Rossi and Brazilian football team Chapecoense, who lost 19 players in a 2016 plane crash.
Surfer Tyler Wright, like fellow Australian Pearson, came away empty-handed after missing out on the action sportsperson award to French navigator Armel Le Cleac’h.