Novak Djokovic ensures sensational ranking milestone concerning Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic has secured 418 world no. 1 weeks

by Jovica Ilic
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Novak Djokovic ensures sensational ranking milestone concerning Rafael Nadal
© Daniel Pockett / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic is spending his 413th week as world no. 1, keeping all the rivals behind a couple of months before turning 37! World no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz dropped points in Buenos Aires and Rio, drifting further away from the Serb.

Also, Djokovic has no points to defend in Indian Wells and Miami, unlike his closest rivals Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev. Thus, Novak has secured five more weeks on the ATP throne, reaching his 418th week at the end of March.

It provides Djokovic with another incredible milestone, collecting two times more world no. 1 weeks than his greatest rival Rafael Nadal! It's a massive boost for Djokovic in his GOAT battle with Nadal, although that story probably ended at last year's Roland Garros.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The Spaniard accumulated 209 weeks as the world's best player between 2008 and 2020, missing a chance to increase the number in 2022.

On the other hand, Djokovic has been the dominant figure since 2011, achieving over 400 world no. 1 weeks and eight year-end no. 1 honors. When Federer reached his 310th week as world no. 1 in 2018, Djokovic had 223, contending with an injury and patiently awaiting the return of his best tennis.

That resurgence materialized a few weeks later at Wimbledon, claiming a Major title and torching a brilliant comeback to the summit. Djokovic reclaimed the no. 1 ranking in the latter stages of the season and maintained it for a year before conceding it to Nadal at the close of 2019.

Since February 2020, Djokovic has been a persistent force atop the ATP ranking list, losing the throne only momentarily to Daniil Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz while constantly rebounding resiliently. The Serb lost the ATP throne in June 2022 and stayed away for 36 weeks.

Novak battled with Carlos Alcaraz in 2023, going back and forth with the young gun before taking charge at the US Open, bringing home his record-extending eighth year-end no. 1 honor.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Graham Denholm / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic will have twice as many world no.

1 weeks as Rafael Nadal!

Novak claimed three Major titles from four finals last year, embracing a legendary season at 36 and writing history books. Djokovic became the second player with ten titles at a single Major in Melbourne, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

Four months later, the Serb clinched his third Roland Garros crown over Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud, standing as the only player with three crowns at all four Majors! Novak was the favorite to win his eighth Wimbledon trophy and extend his reign at Majors.

He reached the final over Jannik Sinner but fell to Alcaraz after five thrilling sets, experiencing his only loss at Majors in 2023. Djokovic conquered his 24th Major in New York over Daniil Medvedev, moving into the driving seat in the year-end no.

1 battle with Alcaraz.

Novak Djokovic, ATP Finals 2023© Valerio Pennicino / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Novak reduced his schedule by the end of the season, playing one Davis Cup match in Valencia and pushing strong at his favorite indoor events in Paris and Turin.

Djokovic conquered both, adding 2300 ATP points to his tally and finishing the season at the top for the eighth time, extending his record and raising the bar even higher. Novak kicked off the 2024 season at the United Cup, scoring two wins but struggling with his right ankle.

Djokovic lost to Alex de Minaur in straight sets and turned his focus to the Australian Open, seeking his 11th Melbourne Park trophy and trying to defend 2000 ATP points. In the opening couple of days, Novak struggled with a minor virus, beating Dino Prizmic and Alexei Popyrin in four sets after not playing at his best.

The Serb recovered his games in rounds three and four against Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Adrian Mannarino, gathering a boost ahead of the quarter-final. Djokovic had to dig deep against Taylor Fritz in the opening two sets before scoring a 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 triumph in three hours and 45 minutes.

They split the opening two sets after two and a half hours, with Fritz denying all 15 break chances! However, Djokovic raised his level when the sun came down, breaking Fritz four times in sets three and four and sailing over the top.

The defending champion faced Jannik Sinner in the semi-final and experienced his first Australian Open loss since 2018! Sinner took down Djokovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 in three hours and 22 minutes after a rock-solid performance.

Novak Djokovic, ATP Finals 2023© Valerio Pennicino / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The Italian became the first player to defeat the Serb in Melbourne after the quarter-final stage! Novak failed to create a break chance in a complete match at Majors for the first time in a career, struggling behind the initial shot and getting broken five times from 11 chances offered to his young opponent.

Novak was off to a terrible start, losing the opening two sets in 73 minutes before recovering his game in the third set. The Serb denied a match point in the tie break, stealing it 8-6 and extending his journey. However, it was not to be for a 24-time Major champion, who could not follow the rival's pace in the fourth set.

Jannik served well and squandered three break points in the second game. Sinner maintained the pressure on Djokovic and returned from 0-40 in the fourth game to secure a break after the Serb's backhand error. Jannik served for the victory at 5-3 and fired two service winners at 15-30 for a match point.

The Italian fired a forehand down the line winner, dethroning the Serb and reaching the final. Novak kept the ATP throne despite losing points and will stay there at least until the end of March. Djokovic has 315 ATP points to defend by the Rome Masters, and he should be safe in front of Alcaraz, Sinner and Medvedev if he shows his A-game in Indian Wells and Miami, skipping both events in 2023.

Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal
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