The 2016 French Open saw two first-time winners on the red clay of Paris. Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic lifted their first-ever Roland Garros titles in a historic weekend in the French capital.
The 22-year old Muguruza upset world No.1 Serena Williams in straight sets to win the first Grand Slam of her career, while also depriving Williams, a four-time Laureus Award winner, of tying Steffi Graf's Open Era record of 22 majors.
"I'm pretty shocked still, I think I've got to take my time and enjoy, because with tennis players it goes so fast” she said in her post-match press conference.
"For Spanish people this is the tournament. When you're a kid and practice on clay, you're always, 'Oh, I wish I could win Roland Garros.'"
Muguruza, who is the world’s second best player as of today, will head to Wimbledon as one of the strong favourites, looking to go a step further than last year, when she lost to Serena Williams in the final.
On the men’s side, world No.1 Novak Djokovic made history when he beat Andy Murray in the final. He became the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four straight grand slams and the eighth man to complete the career Grand Slam. Having won the Australian Open in February, the three-time Laureus World Sportsman of the Year now has the chance to achieve the calendar Grand Slam, something that no player has done since the late-70s.
"Whether or not I can reach a calendar slam, that's still a possibility," said Djokovic after the match. "But I don't think about it right now. Right now I just try to enjoy this experience of winning the trophy that I never won before."
Andy Murray, the 2013 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award winner, praised Djokovic during the trophy presentation.
"What he's achieved in the last 12 months is phenomenal. Winning all four grand slams in one year is an amazing achievement. This is something so rare in tennis. It's not happened for an extremely long time and will take a long time to happen again.”
This is Djokovic’s 12th Grand Slam title and his sixth Major win with Laureus Academy Member Boris Becker as coach. The German tennis legend could not have been a prouder man when writing a column for Gulf News this morning:
“I think what’s most incredible is not just that he’s won his first French Open or that he has 12 Grand Slam titles but that he has won the last four Grand Slam titles, an achievement that hasn’t been accomplished since Rod Laver in 1969. Imagine! It takes a lot to win one title, and it’s very, very difficult to win two in a row but four in a row is almost impossible. So this is something we will cherish forever.”
With Muguruza’s maiden Grand Slam win under her belt, she looks poised to clinch her first Laureus Award Nomination. Will it be the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award? Or perhaps the coveted Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award?
The great Novak Djokovic seems to be in pole position to earn yet another Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Nomination and a potential record-equalling fourth Laureus Award.
Will Garbiñe and Novak win big at the 2017 Laureus World Sports Awards, or is it too early to tell? Let us know what you think on Twitter @LaureusSport using #LaureusWorthy!