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By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, March 8, 2021

 
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Novak Djokovic makes history celebrating his record 311th week as world No. 1 breaking the ATP mark for most weeks at the top he had shared with Roger Federer.

Photo credit:Mark Peterson/Corleve

Novak Djokovic grew up going downhill fast.

The world No. 1 has scaled a supreme tennis summit.

More: Federer Hopes He Can Surprise Himself in Return

Today, Djokovic set the record for most weeks at No. 1 in the 48-year history of the ATP Rankings. Celebrating his 311th week as world No. 1, the Serbian superstar broke the record he shared with rival Roger Federer and now occupies the historical top spot alone.

Djokovic, who initially attained the No. 1 ranking on July 4th, 2011, has since held the top spot in the rankings across five different stints for a record 311 weeks.




The boy who sped down Serbian ski slopes in his younger years has grown into the man, who has eclipsed fellow icons at the ATP peak.

"It really excites me to walk the path of legends and giants of this sport,” Djokovic said. "To know that I earned my place among them by following my childhood dream is a beautiful confirmation that when you do things out of love and passion, everything is possible."

The 33-year-old Djokovic continues racking up major milestones with the focus of a man securing service breaks in a Slam final. Djokovic ended 2020 securing the season-ending world No. 1 ranking for a record-equaling sixth time matching the mark of his childhood hero, Pete Sampras, and surpassing Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have held the year-end top spot five times.






Receiving his trophy for the year-end top spot in London last November, Djokovic made it clear the historic No. 1 ranking record was next on his hit list. 

“My desire is still huge. I love and enjoy this game,” Djokovic said last season. “My professional goals stay the same—historic No.1 ranking and Grand Slam titles. If I achieve the former, which I intend to do next year, my hope will turn even more to Grand Slam tournaments in terms of approach energy and schedule.”

Empowered by his run to a record-extending ninth Australian Open title last month, Djokovic captured his 18th Grand Slam championship narrowing the gap on 20-time major champions Federer and Nadal.

Federer said Djokovic and Nadal are playing peak tennis on pace to shatter the major mark. 

“What Novak and Rafa have done, as of late, is extraordinary,” Federer told the media in Doha ahead of his return this week. “They are not 25 either. They are able to back it up. Novak did it again in Australia and Rafa again did it at Roland Garros. They seem [to be] at their peak which is great for tennis and it is great for the debate...

“I think for them, maybe this is bigger than for me at this moment because for me, it was very important the closer I was getting to Pete Samparas’ record… Once you have it, you try to do your best and that is what I tried to do. But for them, maybe I am the measuring stick like Pete was for me."

The Big 3 have won 15 of the last 16 Grand Slam crowns with Djokovic and Nadal claiming 10 of the last 11 major championships. Djokovic continues to rack up titles and milestones becoming the first man in Open Era history to win three AO championships after age 30.

Attaining one of the game's most respected records, Djokovic will continue his quest for the major mark.




"In terms of calculating the amount of slams that Rafa predicting might win French or somewhere else, myself, getting closer to maybe Roger's, Rafa's record, Serena, Margaret," Djokovic said in Melbourne. "Look, everyone has their own journey and their own way of making history. They've made history already. They made a tremendous mark in our sport. I'm trying to build that and develop that myself in a very unique, authentic way that is suitable to me.

"Whether I think about winning more slams and breaking records, of course. Of course, I do. And most of my attention and my energy from this day forward, until I retire from tennis, is going to be directed in majors, trying to win more major trophies."



Collectively, the Big 3 transformed the sport. Federer, who broke Sampras' Grand Slam record, sees Djokovic and Nadal pushing the title chase to new territory.

"I am in a different situation but sure, you like to keep every record. But all the records are there to be broken," Federer said. "The guys are unreal, we all know that. I hope they keep on going. I hope they can do everything they possibly want and that they look back with no regrets…

"We want to leave the game with no regrets and I think, from that standpoint, we all sleep very well at night.”


 

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