1 Dec 2011

Djokovic, Messi and Vettel head list for top honour

8:13 am on 1 December 2011

A spectacular year of sport has set up an exciting contest for the 2012 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award with young stars Novak Djokovic, Lionel Messi and Sebastian Vettel competing with a wide-ranging line-up of champions for sport's most prestigious honour.

Djokovic, became the dominant player in men's tennis in 2011, winning three Grand Slams and taking over the world No 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal.

He is the first Serbian to win a Grand Slam singles title and the youngest player, at 24, to have reached the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams in the open era.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won his second straight Formula One World Championship in 2011, securing the title at the Japanese Grand Prix, four races before the end of the season.

At 24, he is the youngest driver to have won two world titles.

Argentina's Lionel Messi, also 24, will be seeking to become the first team player to win the individual Laureus Sportsman Award, after another amazing year.

Described as the greatest footballer of his generation, he scored 53 goals in all competitions for Barcelona in the 2010/11 season.

Others on the list include England cricketers Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott as well British Tour de France sprint champion Mark Cavendish and NBA basketball stars Germany's Dirk Nowitzki and the United States Derek Rose.

Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt is also on the list.

The winners will be unveiled in London on February the 6th.