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By James Waterson

(June 30, 2011) World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and French Open champion Li Na have been nominated for two ESPY awards, according to an ESPN press release.

The ESPYs are an ESPN syndicated awards show that gather top athletes and celebrities to recognize the past year’s sporting accomplishments. Winners of each award are selected by the fans, who can vote online, on ESPN’s mobile web, or on facebook.

Nadal joins NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, NBA star Dirk Nowitzki and the NFL’s Aaron Rodgers in the “Best Male Athlete” category, and
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for “Best Male Tennis Player.”

He is nominated for both because he became the first man since
Rod Laver in 1969 to win the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same year, as well as becoming the seventh man to win the career Grand Slam. He is also recognized for winning his sixth French Open this year.

Djokovic is nominated for his victory at the 2011 Australian Open, as well as his 43-match winning streak. Federer rounds out the best male tennis player category because he finished in the top two for a record eighth straight year, he won five titles in nine finals and he reached the finals of the French Open.

Meanwhle, China’s
Li Na is up for “Best Breakthrough Athlete” and “Best Female Tennis Player” because of her victory at the 2011 French Open. Not only did she beat four top 10 players to win the title, but she also became the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam singles title.

In the best breakthrough athlete category, she is up against baseball player Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, Arian Foster of the NFL’s Houston Texans, Blake Griffin of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and Cam Newton of the Auburn University college football team.

Kim Clijsters
, Serena Williams, and World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki join her in the best female tennis player category.

For more information on the ESPY awards, or to cast your vote, click


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