Novak Djokovic Looks Set To Break Federer’s Record For Weeks As World No 1
Few tennis stars seem to be as contentious as Novak Djokovic. His early years in the tennis world showed small flourishes of brilliance, an indication of the potential that lay within, but were mostly coloured by match collapses that proved a barrier to his success. Only when he honed in on his diet – famously going gluten free at a time when it wasn’t quite the diet trend it is today – did Djokovic become the dominant player we see today.
From 2011 through to 2016, the Serb was largely unbeatable on court. He developed a love affair with Rod Laver Arena and now, following the 2021 Australian Open, he’s won the prestigious Grand Slam a staggering nine times, having claimed his first victory in 2008, and then going on to win in 2011-2013, 2015, 2016, followed by another three-peat from 2019-2021. You almost have to wonder how another player can face him on the court when such a career record stands before them.
Not quite content with the accolades he already has to his name, Djokovic is looking to the record books to ensure he goes down as one of the greatest of all time. He’s now equalled Roger Federer’s all-time record for most weeks at ATP World No 1, having held the top spot for the 310 weeks. And having won the Australian Open, he’s now guaranteed to surpass Federer’s record on 8 March.
It’s a huge milestone in a career already littered with illustrious celebrations, but already Djokovic is looking to another record. The player revealed in an interview that he’ll now look to adjust his playing calendar to try overhaul Federer and Nadal’s joint-record of 20 men’s grand slam titles.
“Now, after achieving the history No 1 for the longest weeks at No 1, it’s going to be a relief for me because I’m going to focus all my attention on slams mostly,” he said after his title victory at Melbourne Park. “When you are going for No 1 ranking, you kind of have to be playing the entire season and you have to be playing well, you have to play all the tournaments.”
“My goals will adapt and will shift a little bit, which means that I will have to adjust also my calendar – not have to, but I will have an opportunity to do that which, as a father and a husband, I’m really looking forward to that.”
Currently, this is Djokovic’s fifth stint atop the world rankings. As The Guardian reports, “The 33-year-old reclaimed the top spot from Nadal in February last year and finished as the year-end No 1 for the sixth time – tying the record set by Pete Sampras.”