Novak Djokovic eyes more records as he surpasses Steffi Graf’s No 1 mark – ‘I’m driven by the goals’

A delighted Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is now the outright-record holder for the most weeks spent at No 1 in both men’s or women’s tennis after breaking Steffi Graf’s record by notching up a 378th week atop the ATP Rankings.

The Serbian was always assured of breaking the record this week as his closest challenger Carlos Alcaraz was unable to overhaul him even if he won the Rio Open with the best he could’ve hoped for a tie at the top, but then Djokovic would have won the tie-breaker rule anyway.

In the end, no tie-breaker was needed as Alcaraz failed to win the ATP 500 event in Brazil.

With all done and said, Djokovic is top with 6,980 points with Alcaraz 200 points adrift at No 2 and it means the 35-year-old started a 378th week at No 1 in the ATP Rankings – now one ahead of fellow great and 22-time Grand Slam winner Graf.

The tennis legend surpassed Roger Federer’s ATP milestone in March 2021 and nearly two full years later he holds the outright record for men and women.

Top five for all-time weeks at No 1

1. Novak Djokovic 378
2. Stefanie Graf 377
3. Martina Navratilova 332
4. Serena Williams 319
5. Roger Federer 310

“I could not have imagined it, to be honest. I was dreaming as a kid to be Wimbledon champion, to be No 1 in the world. I achieved those dreams [in] 2011,” he said.

“After that, of course, I wanted more. I still want more achievements. Of course, I’m driven by the goals. I’m as dedicated to the sport really as anybody else. I obviously know that it’s not handed to me, that I have to earn it.

“It’s surreal in a way to be that many weeks world No 1, to match Steffi Graf, who is one of the all-time greats of our sport, both men and women. Just being amongst these legendary names is flattering. I’m very proud of it.”

Djokovic is currently in his seventh spell as No 1 and he first climbed to the top of the ATP Rankings on July 4, 2011 when he was 24 years and 43 days – spending 53 week in total at the top.

His longest spell at the top started when he reached the top in July 2014 and he would stay there for 122 consecutive weeks to go to 223 weeks before he was surpassed by Andy Murray on November 7, 2016.

Djokovic will look to stretch his lead at the top again as he will return to action at the Dubai Tennis Championships this week – his first event since winning the Australian Open.

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic’s 2023 tennis schedule: Where is he competing next and his season so far…