Rafael Nadal

Tennis players took the No. 1 spots and Spaniards swept the male side in the United States Sports Academy’s July Athlete of the Month balloting. Rafael Nadal was named Male Athlete of the Month and Serena Williams was named Female Athlete of the Month.

Rafael Nadal, a tennis player from Spain, was named Male Athlete of the Month in a month in which he won the Wimbledon Championship, his countryman cyclist Alberto Contador won the Tour de France and his country won the FIFA World Cup. With forward David Villa scoring five goals for the Spanish soccer team, his country swept the top three spots on the male ballot.

Finishing a close second in the voting was Contador, who held off a next-to-last day challenge from Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, his runner-up for a second consecutive year, to win the Tour de France for the third time in four years. He defeated Schleck by 39 seconds.

Villa scored five goals and took 32 shots on goal to help his country win its first FIFA World Cup. He scored the winning goals in the first and second round of the playoffs and both goals in a critical 2-0 win over Honduras.

Serena Williams

Williams earned Female Athlete of the Month honors by winning her fourth Wimbledon title and 13th Grand Slam tournament. The American tennis pro defeated Russia’s Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2 in a 67-minute finals match to retain the Ladies’ Singles Championship.

Finishing second on the female side was British triathlete Chrissie Wellington. The three-time world champion recorded a time of 8:19:13 to beat her own previous world record by 12:46, and won the Challenge Roth event, finishing half-an-hour ahead of Australia’s Rebecca Keat.

American softball player Alisa Haber finished third in the female balloting. Leading the U.S. to a gold medal, the outfielder from Stanford batted .600 and had a tournament-record 20 RBIs at the International Softball Federation XII Women’s World Championship in Caracas, Venezuela.

The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nominating and balloting processes. Visit the Academy website and fill out the nomination form, and return to the website the first week of each month to vote on the Athlete of the Month. Winners will be announced on the Academy’s website and in the online edition of the Academy Update.