5 Apr, 2024 @ 06:00
1 min read

IN PICS: Tennis ace Carlos Alcaraz, 20, receives Athlete of the Year award from King Felipe of Spain

SPANISH tennis star Carlos Alcaraz had a royal appointment on Thursday when received an award from King Felipe and Queen Letizia for being the best Spanish athlete at the National Sports Awards 2022.

That was the year that the 20-year-old from the El Palmar district of Murcia won his first Grand Slam- the US Open- to make him number one in the world.

CHAT WITH KING FELIPE(Cordon Press image)

The young player then followed that success up with winning Wimbledon last year in an exciting victory over Novak Djokovic.

Alcaraz recently retained his Indian Wells Masters 1000 title, but has dropped to third in the world rankings following last week’s Miami Open victory for Italian rival Jannik Sinner.

ALCARAZ WITH EX-GOALKEEPER IKER CASILLAS(Cordon Press image)

He received the King Felipe Trophy from the monarch in Madrid on Thursday and was asked by reporters afterwards about the Spanish legend Rafa Nadal and his spate of injuries in what is his final season before retirement.

“As a Spaniard and a tennis lover, I am worried that Rafa could miss the next tournaments. I want him to come back soon,” he said.

“Hopefully Jannik will keep pushing me so that I can reach my highest level and forge a historic rivalry between the two of us,” Alcaraz added.

In a major coincidence, another El Palmar sports star was also honoured- the basketball player, Izan Almansa.

He won the Princess Leonor Award, which is given to the best athlete aged under 18.

ALMANSA TOWERS OVER KING(Cordon Press image)

Almansa is a European champion with the Spain’s U-18 national team and a runner-up in the U-17 World Cup in 2022.

In both cases he was voted as the ‘most valuable player’ and will hit the heights of playing in the world’s biggest basketball league next season, the NBA.

Galicia’s Susana Rodriguez won the female best athlete category and is a five-time paratriathlon world champion and Olympic gold medal winner in the 2020 Tokyo games.

Susana- winner of world and European golds in 2022- is the first sportsperson with a disability to win an ‘athlete of the year’ at the National Sports Awards and has had virtually no sight since birth.

The 36-year-old received the Queen Letizia Award and reflected on her achievement.

RODRIGUEZ AND QUEEN LETIZIA(Cordon Press image)

“I am very grateful to the jury for having assessed my results as if they were those of a able-bodied athlete, because I think that’s how it has to be,” said the paratriathlete.

Susana, who is also a practising doctor, will be defending her Olympic title this summer.

“When one Olympics passes, we are looking forward to to the next one and though I work in rehabilitation at a Vigo hospital, everything has been made easy for me to go training and take part in competitions,” she added.

AWARD WINNERS TOGETHER WITH ROYALS(Cordon Press image)

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