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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic will not defend his Rolex Paris Masters title as he focuses on breaking Roger Federer's record for most weeks at world No. 1.

Photo credit: Christopher Levy

Novak Djokovic will pass on Paris.

The reigning Rolex Paris Masters champion announced he will skip the Paris Indoors, set for November 2nd-8th.

More: Nadal To Play Paris

Djokovic, who owns a record 36 ATP Masters 1000 titles, is instead focusing on breaking Roger Federer's record for most weeks at world No. 1. Federer has occupied the top spot for a record 310 weeks.

To that end, the top-ranked Serbian will play next week's Erste Bank Open in Vienna for the first time since he beat Stan Wawrinka to win the 2007 Vienna title. Djokovic can gain 500 ranking points winning Vienna.

Skipping Paris will not cost Djokovic the 1,000 ranking points he won in Bercy last November as the ATP froze ranking points in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

"I want to make history as the world No.1, who has spent the most weeks at the top of the ATP Tour, and I will do everything I can to make it happen," Djokovic told Belgrade's Sportski Zurnal. "My immediate task is to collect as many points as possible to try to put as much distance between me and the hunting pack before next season."

Djokovic's announcement comes a day after rival Rafael Nadal, who swept the Serbian in the Roland Garros final this month to collect his record-tying 20th Grand Slam crown, announced he plans to play Paris.

"Whether or not Nadal plays in Paris doesn't change anything because everything is in my hands," said Djokovic.

In July, the ATP announced the rankings, which traditionally operate on a “Best 18” results basis over 52 weeks, will now cover a period of 22 months (March 2019 – December 2020). That adjustment means a player cannot count the same Tour-level tournament twice in his Best 18 breakdown. So even if Djokovic successfully defended his Paris title next month it would not add to his ranking total.

The 33-year-old Serbian is on pace to break Federer's record of 310 weeks as world No. 1 next March. Currently, Djokovic is assured of retaining world No. 1 through at least 293 weeks through November 9th.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion has set his two primary goals of breaking the record for most weeks at No. 1 and surpassing the mark for most Grand Slam titles shared by 20-time major champions Federer and Nadal.

“Of course I'm aware of the amount of weeks, and I don't know exactly the date, but I know it's going to be in probably the first or beginning of the second quarter of next year if I eventually maintain my No.1 ranking,” Djokovic said. “I'm getting closer. I'm in a very good position, I feel like I have been also playing really well and been healthy, which is great.

“Yes, those are the two biggest professional goals that I have at the moment. So the historic No.1 ranking goal is something that is on the horizon, and I'm going to give my all and very best that I can possibly give in the next period to achieve that.

“But also, after that slams will be the big one, of course."


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