As 2023 comes to an end, there are a couple of sportsmen who have graced the fans with some wonderful performances. These sportsmen have either been in the form of their lives or have produced record figures. Bet Central looks at the Top 5 sportsmen of 2023.
5: Ronnie O’Sullivan (Snooker)
Widely regarded as one of the greatest snooker players of all time, Ronnie O’Sullivan once again etched himself into the history books. At the age of 46, he became the oldest player to ever win the UK Championship and as well finished as the World No. 1. He now holds a record of being the oldest and the youngest having won the title at the age of 17 in 1993.
In the prestigious career that planned for over two decades, O’Sullivan has won a record eight World Championship titles jointly with Stephen Hendry. He also holds a record of seven masters and eight UK Championship trophies under his name. With the wonderful display, this season he has cemented his status of being great.
4: Virat Kohli (Cricket)
At the start of this year, Cricket fans were questioning the form of Virat Kohli. The Indian batsman wasn’t converting like he has been over the years. Others were calling him to even call it a time in international cricket. But he has responded in a classic style and has been clinical with the bat. During the 50-over World Cup at home, he ended up being the crucial player in the team scoring a total of 765 runs to finish the tournament as the highest run go-getter.
In that process, he became the first batsman to go past 700 runs in a single World Cup edition. That now what was special with his runs, he also etched himself into history books becoming the first cricketer to notch 50 ODI centuries going past Sachin Tendulkar’s 49th record. Not only he did flourish in the ODI matches but even in the Test, he contributed largely with the bat too. He made history by becoming the first man to finish a year with over 2000 runs for the seventh consecutive year going past Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakarra.
3: Max Verstappen (Formula 1)
Since arriving in the Formula 1 circuit as the 17-year-old, youngest-ever driver in history, Verstappen has now become a force to be reckoned with. In the past three years, he has won three Formula One titles. But this year’s title was more dominant and golden to watch. The 26-year-old Dutch driver won a total of 19 out of 22 races across the season. No driver in the history of the game has ever managed to do so.
It was a very good season though for the Red Bull team winning 21 of those 22 races. Verstappen managed to cement the title early but he further went on to win for the sake of the status. It no doubt this wonderful season got people talking about the exceptional talent he has shown over the past. Now with the potential being reached, he is shining like the stars. He is tipped as the prime favorite to clinch the fourth title in a row next year.
2: Novak Djokovic (Tennis)
Over the years, Novak Djokovic has been among the class of the “Big Four ” in the tennis world. But after an exceptional 2023 which saw him win three Grand Slams (Australian Open, US Open, and French Open) out of the four – the talks are now pointing to him as the greatest player of all time. The tennis community believes he has earned a “Goat” status now since he now holds a record 24 titles – neither men nor women have achieved that feat in the Open Era.
The 36-year-old tennis ace nearly completed a clean sweep but a Wimbledon final loss to Carlos Alcaraz prevented him from achieving that feat. Since he won the first Grand Slam in 2008, he has won 24 of 63 played during that period which comes to a 35 percent share. The Serb is the oldest player to win the French Open surpassing the record held by his rival Rafael Nadal who won the title last year at the age of 22. His wonderful season and achievements saw him finishing as top top-ranked player for the record eighth season.
1: Jude Bellingham (Football)
Since Jude Bellingham signed for a massive fee of €103 million to Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund in the summer – no player has managed to grab the headlines. At the age of 20, Bellingham is regarded as the best footballer in the world. After he arrived in Spain, he hit the ground running scoring non-stop.
In the 21 appearances in all competitions for the Whites, he has netted 17 times and further assisted 5 times. One of the good performances the Englishman has produced this season includes scoring the brace in his first EL Clasico match which saw his side winning 2-1 in the end. In that process, he broke Cristiano Ronaldo’s record scoring 14 times in the first 15 matches. His wonderful year saw him being rewarded with the KOPA Trophy for being the best World U-21 player.