Laureus Awards: Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka up against Lionel Messi, Megan Rapinoe

Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Lionel Messi, and Megan Rapinoe are nominated for Sportspersons of the Year.

Competing for this year's Laureus Awards, the nominations for which were announced on Wednesday, are some heavyweights across various sporting spectrums, featuring the likes of Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Lionel Messi, and Megan Rapinoe.

Three-time winner and world number one Nadal is in contention for the "World Sportsman of the Year" award alongside six-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, six-time MotoGP champion Marc Márquez, and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

Adding star power to the category are the likes of golf legend Tiger Woods, who won his 15th Major Championship at The Masters, and also record-breaking marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge.

In the "World Sportswoman of the Year" category, Osaka, the first Asian tennis player to be ranked number one in singles is competing with FIFA Women's World Cup Golden Ball winner Megan Rapinoe, gymnastic star Simone Biles, sprinters Allyson Felix and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce along with US skiing great Mikaela Shiffrin.

UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool FC and FIFA Women's World Cup champions USA are the footballing nominees in the Laureus "World Team of the Year" category.

Joining them are six-time Formula 1 Drivers and Constructors World Champions Mercedes AMG Petronas, Rugby World Cup champions South Africa, the first Canadian team to win the NBA Championship Toronto Raptors, and two-time FIBA World Cup winners Spain Men's Basketball Team.

Teen tennis prodigy Coco Gauff is joined in the "World Breakthrough of the Year" category by Canadia's Bianca Andreescu, who became the first woman to win the US Open on her debut, Colombia's first ever Tour de France winner Egan Bernal, Rugby World Cup trailblazers Japan Men's Rugby Team, former unified heavyweight boxing champion Andy Ruiz Jr, and US swimming star Regan Smith.

The "World Comeback of the Year" nominees personify the true spirit, determination and tenacity of athletes who have overcome hurdles to return to the playing field. Andy Murray, who won his first ATP title in 31 months at the European Open following two hip operations, is in contention alongside UEFA Champions League semi-final comeback kings Liverpool, unusually nominated in two categories.

Also nominated are 19-year-old German Formula 3 driver Sophia Flörsch, who returned to racing after her car hit a fence at 170mph during a race in 2018, Australian rugby star Christian Lealiifano, who returned to represent his country in the Rugby World Cup after battling leukemia, basketball star Kawhi Leonard, who overcame injury to help the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA Championship and US swimmer Nathan Adrian who recovered from testicular cancer to win his 15th and 16th world titles.

Six of the highest achieving para-athletes of 2019 make up the Nominees for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.

Cuba's Omara Durand, the world's fastest female Paralympian in 2019, is joined by Dutch wheelchair tennis star Diede de Groot, US Paralympic skier and cyclist Oksana Masters, Dutch para-cyclist and para-triathlete Jetze Plat, Swiss marathon star and T54 800m world record breaker Manuela Schär and British seven-time para-swimming World Championships 2019 gold medallist Alice Tai.

In the Laureus "World Action Sportsperson of the Year" category, world surfing champions Italo Ferreira and Carissa Moore are joined by 2019 Action Sportsperson winner and snowboarding world champion Chloe Kim and 11-year-old Brazilian skateboarder Rayssa Leal, the youngest Nominee for the 2020 Laureus Awards. Also in contention for the Action Award are US skateboarding world champion Nyjah Huston and Canadian snowboarding star and slopestyle X-Games gold medallist Mark McMorris.

The awards ceremony will be held in Berlin on February 17.

(with PTI inputs)