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Novak Djokovic becomes longest reigning World No 1 in Tennis

28 Feb 2023
Moti Prakash 28 Feb 2023
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  • Novak Djokovic surpasses the record for time spent as number one in tennis
  • The 22-time Grand Slam winner has spent 378 weeks at the top
  • He beats the record 377 Steffi Graf held as number one in the women's game
novak djokovic
Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)

In an already illustrious tennis career, Novak Djokovic has reached another milestone and shattered another record by becoming the player with the longest reign as World No. 1 in the sport. 

The Serbian has spent a total of 378 weeks at the top of the chart and broken the previous record of 377 weeks at the summit held by Steffi Graf.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion’s first stint at the top of the ATP rankings started in 2011. Djokovic touched the summit on July 4, 2011, and then held his position for a little over a year till July 8, 2012, before Roger Federer became World No. 1. 

Djokovic came back strong towards the end of that same year and reclaimed his top-spot on November 5, 2012, and retained it for 48 weeks till Rafael Nadal replaced him at the summit on October 6, 2013.

After spending nine months behind pole position, on July 7, 2014, Djokovic retook the top spot and thus began his longest-ever reign as World No.1 which lasted 122 weeks. 

The streak ended when Andy Murray became the new World No. 1 on November 7, 2016. 

The Federer-Nadal rivalry was intense over the next couple of years and the duo kept swapping places as Djokovic spent two years away from the summit till the end of 2018.

In the 2018 ATP World Tour, after a lengthy injury hiatus, Djokovic won for titles, including two Grand Slams - Wimbledon and The US Open - and he was named the Player of the Year and the Comeback Player of the Year as he moved back up into first place on November 5, 2018, and forfeited it a year later to his rival Nadal on November 3, 2019. 

At seven weeks, the Serbian’s shortest stint as World No. 1 came between February 3, 2020, and March 22, 2020.

That was followed by a 79-week stint that started when Nadal was replaced at the top yet again by Djokovic on August 24, 2020. 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion held the position till February 27, 2022. In the same year, he forfeited his World No. 1 spot to Daniil Medvedev on a couple of occasions during the season.

Djokovic became World No. 1 again on January 30, 2023, and this week he has broken the record for the longest-reigning World No. 1. 

The Serbian’s combined stint of 378 weeks as World No. 1 is 67 weeks longer than Federer’s stint and 168 weeks longer than Nadal’s. Apart from Djokovic, only Federer has probed north of the 300-week mark on the Tour.

After battling with the likes of Federer, Nadal, Murray, and Medvedev over the years, Djokovic has a new rival who is also eyeing the World No. 1 spot. 

That rival is the young prodigy, Carlos Alcaraz. The young Spaniard tasted blood when he became World No.1 on September 12, 2022. All eyes will be on Djokovic and Alcaraz for the rest of the 2023 ATP Tour. 

Djokovic will be bidding to add to his list of Grand Slam success at the 2023 French Open in May. 

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