Rafael Nadal wins Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award: “I try to be always correct on court”

Photo by Corinne Dubreuil

Rafael Nadal has been named the recipient of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for 2021 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He has now received this honour five times, first triumphing in 2010.

“I can’t be happier to receive one more time the Sportsmanship Award from my colleagues on the Tour. It means a lot to me, so thanks a lot to every player that thinks that I am the right one to receive this award.

“Honestly, it means a lot to me because I try to be always correct on court. Thanks for believing in me and I wish all the very best for the 2022 season to all my colleagues on the Tour and I hope to see you soon.”

Congratulations Rafa!


  1. Such sad news Rafa. I hope it’s only a mild attack if the Covid. I will pray for your quick recovery. Don’t come to Melbourne if you are not 100%. Take care Rafa. God bless you. Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley.

  2. No one deserves this award more than Rafael Nadal. To be selected by his colleagues makes this
    more meaningful. While others are racquet smashing, throwing chairs, and cursing, he has remained
    an exemplary role model. The bar is high. Watch and learn.👏💪👍🏆🙏❤️

  3. Rafa tested positive for Covid on arrival back to Spain. No wonder he wasn’t feeling himself totally and that would explain his hesitancy about his participation in the AO. My thoughts are with our champ and I wish him a full and speedy return to full fitness.

  4. Thrilled to see that Rafa got his 5th Sportsmanship Award. That means a lot as its voted by the players. I thought one of the other nominees might get it this year since Rafa played so little.

    Also grats to Roger, once again the Fan Favorite. He’ll probably keep winning that one even after he’s dead! 🙂

    • I thought Rafa played well enough~ the courts were playing extremely fast & we all know Rafa doesn’t do well on fast cement courts ~ I still get so sad when he loses & wish that he could have won one of the matches~ it was good to see Andy playing well & I was rooting for him in the final ~ Now I’m hearing that Rafa isn’t committing to playing the AO ~ Perhaps he will wait for the Clay court season we’ll just have to wait & see ~

      • The Aus Open announced on their Twitter today that Rafa will play for the 17th time. We know that Tiley always says that all the big stars are coming but perhaps Rafa has confirmed it. We will know very soon.

  5. I do think Rafa is an incredible role model on and off the court, but I was thinking he might not win this year due to his shorter season. While the other nominees were good, they still did not rise to Rafa’s level. I know this award means so much to Rafa since the players vote for the recipient.

    • Thanks va4favre and David for your assessment on Rafa’s match performances and practice sessions. It’s evident that if Rafa’s energy level is not where it needs to be for the AO then he won’t play, given it’s the best of five sets. Let’s see….

  6. Just on the question of Rafa’s fitness, I didn’t see the match against Shapo, but I noticed in his match against Murray, that he gave a worried look up to his box. That made me think that something wasn’t physically right, even though his movement looked good to me. I do hope that isn’t the case.

    The AO is a very gruelling tournament in the heat and if Rafa feels things aren’t right, as he is alluding to, it would be wise for him to skip it.

    • Hi Lorna, I was able to watch both of Rafa’s matches. It was so wonderful to see him back on court. The fans were clearly rooting for him. I cannot say that I noticed a problem with his foot. He was obviously rusty. In the match against Shapo, Rafa looked a bit tired after the first set. It was so close, that it could have gone either way. I wonder if Rafa is not concerned about Covid too when deciding to travel to the AO?

      • Rafa mentioned that he practiced two hours with Rublev the night before the Shapo match and he had practiced with Shapo the night before that. So he probably was a bit fatigued for the second Shapo set. I thought his movement was good throughout.

        My bet is that it’s the team’s evaluation of his level of play, or what his level could be next month, that will determine whether he travels to the AO.

  7. Fifth time! A well deserved award for a man who is respected by players and fans alike for his fairness, humility and integrity.

  8. Congrats Idol Rafa for the 2021 ATP Sportsmanship Award. You really deserved this award for your dedication and the sportmanship you show inside and outside the court. Stay safe and stronger always.

    • There is no-one more deserving of this Award than Rafa. He has always treated his opponents with great respect on court and conducted himself off court with great decorum, irrespective of the circumstances. Such a great example for the rest of the Tour.

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