Novak Djokovic will set a new 311-week milestone on Monday as world number one, overtaking Roger Federer whose possession of a record equal to 20 Grand Slam titles is now firmly in the Serbs’ sights. Djokovic, 33, already winner of 18 major tournaments, has time on his side with Federer who turns 40 in August. He is also a year younger than Rafael Nadal who also has 20 majors. “Now that I have become the historic number one I am relieved,” said Djokovic after winning a ninth Australian Open last month, which guaranteed his long stay at the top.
“Now I will be able to focus mainly on the Grand Slam tournaments.”
Djokovic reclaimed first place at Nadal in February 2020 and finished year-end number one for the sixth time, tying the mark set by Pete Sampras.
He is currently in his fifth different spell atop the standings.
Nadal, currently number two, has been at the top for “ only ” 209 weeks in total, although the 13-time Roland Garros champion can boast of being a top 10 still present since April 2005.
However, he will lose his second place in the world to Daniil Medvedev one week on Monday.
Federer, who returns to action in Doha next week after more than a year of inactivity to recover from two knee surgeries, will come out of the top five on Monday.
Djokovic made his top 100 debut in July 2005, just weeks after Nadal won his first Roland Garros.
He was in the top 50 in June 2006, in the top 20 for the first time in October 2006 and in the top 10 in March 2007.
He became world number one for the first time at the age of 24 on July 4, 2011, the day after his first victory at Wimbledon, beating Nadal in the final.
Brief dive and quick return
Only a six-month injury absence in 2017 saw his rankings dip, to 22 the following summer.
It was just a blip – Djokovic was number one again in November and with the exception of November 2019 until January of last year when Nadal regained pole position he was rock solid.
Few would bet against Djokovic, who in 2016 was the first man to cross the $ 100 million cash prize mark, ending his career with more slams than Federer and Nadal.
Head-to-head, he leads Federer 27-23 and has won his last six meetings in the majors, including the epic final of Wimbledon in 2019 where he saved two match points.
Federer hasn’t beaten Djokovic at the Slams since Wimbledon in 2012.
Against Nadal, he has a 29-27 lead and is still one of only two men to have beaten the Spaniard at Roland Garros since 2005.
At least Nadal, however, can boast of having comfortably seen Djokovic in the 2020 Roland Garros final, denying the Serbian the chance to become the first man in half a century to win all four Slams more than once.
Djokovic, whose only Roland Garros title came in 2016, has comfortably more Australian Open than Federer (six) and Nadal (one).
His Wimbledon total is five to eight for Federer and two for Nadal.
At the US Open, he has three against Federer’s five and Nadal’s four.
“Obviously I have in mind to win more Grand Slam titles and break records.
“Until I retire from the tour, I will devote most of my attention and energy to winning the other major titles,” said Djokovic.
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