Roger Federer became the first person to be named Laureus World Sports Sportsman of the Year for a record fifth time, while he was also honoured with Comeback of the Year in Monaco.
The Swiss won the title for four straight years between 2005 and 2008, but saw Usain Bolt match his total in 2017.
However, he has overtaken his Jamaican counterpart once more after a remarkable 2017 as he pipped fellow tennis ace Rafael Nadal, long-distance runner Mo Farah, cyclist Chris Froome, Formula One star Lewis Hamilton, and Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo to the award.
Serena Williams was crowned as Sportswoman of the Year, after winning the Australian Open when eight weeks pregnant.
She beat Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, swimmer Katie Ledecky, skiier Mikaela Shiffrin and athletes Caser Smenya and Allyson Felix, to lift the title for a record fourth time.
The next closest athlete to her four-trophy haul is Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva – the only other woman to have won the award more than once.
Federer returned to tennis after six months away with a knee problem and scooped two Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
At the start of 2018, he has defended his crown in Melbourne and also overtaken Rafael Nadal as world No. 1.
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year winners
2000: Tiger Woods
2001: Tiger Woods
2002: Michael Schumacher
2003: Lance Armstrong (later rescinded)
2004: Michael Schumacher
2005: Roger Federer
2006: Roger Federer
2007: Roger Federer
2008: Roger Federer
2009: Usain Bolt
2010: Usain Bolt
2011: Rafael Nadal
2012: Novak Djokovic
2013: Usain Bolt
2014: Sebastian Vettel
2015: Novak Djokovic
2016: Novak Djokovic
2017: Usain Bolt
2018: Roger Federer
After being handed his Comeback of the Year award by Boris Becker, Federer opened up on what it meant to return to the elite level of tennis.
‘What a great moment, thank you for the nice words Boris, you were such a hero to me growing up and inspiration when I was a little boy and Stefan Edberg, your great rival, Pete Sampras and Michael Jordan so thanks for paving the way for me,’ he said.
‘I think the comeback is always extremely emotional because you’ve gone through a hard patch and then when you come back it feels so great. I didn’t believe I would come back to this level, I hoped to just be happy and healthy again. The year that I had last year was just something else.
‘It’s a moment to thank the people who got me back: my doctor giving me a good operation, [I remember] waking up not knowing if I could ever run again properly, my physio who helped me get running again, my fitness coach who got me working hard again and told me I’d need six months off probably.
‘Actually, two months off at first and later to have six months, I thought he was joking when he told me I’d need that much time off whereas then my coach told me we need another month for the forehand, another month for the backhand, another month for the drop-shot, the smash and it just became a running joke.
‘It was worth it to take that time off and come back strong maybe one last time and then last year was just a dream come true.
‘I’m not the only guy to do great things last year, the nominations are truly astonishing as well so congratulations to them as well and a big thank you to my team as well for helping me get back onto this stage.’
Elsewhere, Roma legend Francesco Totti won the Exceptional Achievement Award, while Armel le Cleac’h won the World Action Sportsperson of the Year and Marcel Hug won Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.
Laureus Sport Award winners 2018
Sportsman of the Year: Roger Federer
Sportswoman of the Year: Serena Williams
Exceptional Acheivement: Francesco Totti
Action Sportsperson: Armel Le Cleac’h
Team of the Year: Mercedes
Breakthrough of the Year: Sergio Garcia
Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Marcel Hug
Sporting Inspiration Award: J.J. Watt
Best Sporting Moment: ‘Eternal Champions’ Chapecoense
Exceptional Achievement: Edwin Moses
The Sport For Good Award went to Active Communities Network, with Mercedes landing World Team of the Year and Sergio Garcia claiming the Breakthrough of the Year award.
The Laureus Sporting Inspiration Award went to American Football star J.J. Watt, while ‘Eternal Champions’ Chapecoense were honoured with the Best Sporting Moment of the Year and Edwin Moses was handed the Exceptional Achievement Award.