Although the 20 Grand Slam record can be improved by the end of February, at the conclusion of the Australian Open, it is more likely that the first major record to jump in 2021 is the one relating to the weeks spent at the top of the world rankings.
Since 2012 this record has been in the hands of Roger Federer who inherited it from Connors (268), Lendl (270) and Sampras (286). The Swiss, after snatching it from Pistol Pete, took it to 310 weeks with the new windows of a king he opened in 2012 and 2018.
The pandemic allowed Federer to keep this record, because after the edition of the 16th March, the ATP suspended the publication of the world rankings until 24 August. At the resumption Djokovic never gave up and if the Serbian is continuously number 1 in the world until the edition of Monday 8 March 2021, then he will have surpassed Federer by one week and will be the king of kings for the week number 311.
But if for the Grand Slam the race is three, this of the player with the most weeks spent at the top of the world ranking is still two because Rafael Nadal is at a distance that seems unbridgeable (209 weeks). At the end of 2020 Federer is at 310, Novak Djokovic at 301, Sampras at 286, Lendl at 270, Connors at 268 and Nadal at 209.
In the interview with Kevin Palmer, two-time Slam finalist Todd Martin suggested that Novak Djokovic's peak level is higher than that of any other player in history - including Roger Federer.
Martin pays tribute to Novak Djokovic
Despite his undeniable dominance, Novak Djokovic still trails Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in terms of crowd support.
But Martin believes, just like Ivan Lendl, that Djokovic's place in the tennis hierarchy is unaffected by his relative lack of popularity. "“One of the beauties of life is that life is not fair," Todd Martin said.
"Novak is the third wheel from a public adoration standpoint. But his achievements have proved that he is no third wheel from a capability standpoint”. Martin also added that Novak Djokovic's mental toughness sets him apart from the rest of the tour.
Even when he does not bring his A-game to the court, Djokovic's fighting spirit sees him through. "“Having worked with him, when he is focused he has that 'I’m going through a brick wall' mentality.
Now he is not always focused, but when he is and we have seen this for long stretches, he doesn’t have to play great. He is that much of a fighter and thrives on it”.