He hasn't made his season debut yet and still, Novak Djokovic is still the best tennis player on the planet. The NextGen, or its two main exponents, had the chance to displace the Serbian from the position of honor in the ATP ranking and they couldn't.
The place of privilege is not for everyone. "Nole", 34, remained for week number 359 as the leader of the men's circuit. The Serbian is already the tennis player who has accumulated the most time in the position of honor, a situation that could change in the coming months if he maintains his position of not getting vaccinated.
At the moment Djokovic is already 49 weeks older than his main pursuer, who is the Swiss Roger Federer with 310 weeks being number one in the world. Although the "express" is still active and is currently sixth in the ranking, the possibility that he will return to the top at 39 years of age seems very distant.
The third and last place on the podium is occupied by the American Pete Sampras with 286 weeks. Further back on the list are Americans Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors, with 270 and 268, respectively. For his part, the Spanish Rafael Nadal is in the sixth historical box with 209 weeks being the leader of the ATP circuit.
These are the only six tennis players in history who have overcome the barrier of 200 weeks as number one in the world, with Djokovic being the owner of the record with a figure that can continue to increase if he decides to get vaccinated and play the following stops on the circuit.
Greg Rusedski on Novak Djokovic
In his latest interview with Tennis Channel, former British No. 1 Greg Rusedski spoke at length about the battle at the top of the men's game and why he thinks Novak Djokovic will come back stronger from his Australian Open visa debacle.
"So Djokovic wants to go down as the greatest male tennis player in the history of the sport," Rusedski said. "Probably even break Margaret Court's record of 24 Majors. So I think the next tournament he plays where he's going to be allowed to play, depending on his status with vaccinations, and so forth, and countries' rules towards that," he continued.
"Mark my words, he's going to win his first event back. There's no question about it to me, I've seen him do things on a tennis court that nobody else has done," he continued. "I mean, I bring back that match, the 2017 match against Federer at the US open.
I was there live on the court and he had 22 and a half thousand people against him, didn't make him flinch or bother him whatsoever against one of the all-time greats."