Analysis: How good is Novak Djokovic’s milestone and how long before he passes Roger Federer?

Michael Graham
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has reached a significant milestone as he enjoys his 250th week on top of the ATP rankings, but just how good is it and what can we expect to happen next?

Well there are only four players who currently boast longer as the world’s top male player, and three of them are very much within Djokovic’s immediate sights.

Jimmy Connors, 268 weeks

Connors has found his record 109 ATP titles under threat from Roger Federer, but Djokovic usurping him from this top four is by far the more immediate threat.

Djokovic currently holds all Grand Slam titles bar one, as well as the ranking points that come with them, and he’ll get a chance to add the last to the set before he risks losing any.

It’s hard to see anyone knocking Djokovic off top spot before September 16, and should that prove the case the Serb will pass Connors on this illustrious list.

Ivan Lendl, 270 weeks

Lendl is also in pretty immediate danger of being surpassed by Djokovic here.

The Czech won eight Grand Slams in the 80s, although Wimbledon eluded him.

That peak time included a streak of 157 weeks atop the rankings, 35 more than Djokovic’s current streak.

However, Djokovic will pass him before October this year unless something quite remarkable happens.

Pete Sampras, 286 weeks

Sampras has a little more breathing space than Lendl and Connors here, but he’s still in danger.

Djokovic has a lot of points to defend between now and the end of January 2020 when he could surpass Sampras, but it would probably need Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal to sweep them while Djokovic has a few flops.

It’s possible, especially given how Federer still has clay points to come to add to his total from last year.

That said, it would still be tough to bet against Djokovic from remaining world number one through to the Australian Open next year.

Roger Federer, 310 weeks

Federer looks pretty safe at first glance and rightly so given Djokovic needs to hold his position at the very top of the game for over a year to challenge him.

However, looking around the ATP right now, the question isn’t so much whether or not Djokovic can maintain his ranking but whether or not anyone is in a position to deny him.

Federer is still brilliant but not quite what he once was, and Rafael Nadal is struggling to even get through tournaments right now.

Perhaps Alexander Zverev can find some stunning form from nowhere, but it’s not looking likely.

The BIG but…

… is that it all just looks like a matter of time anyway. Djokovic likely has three more years at the peak of his powers if all goes well.

That’s 156 weeks to catch the rest, assuming Federer doesn’t top the rankings again, not even taking into account anything he does when he’s past his peak years.

It seems absolutely inevitable that Djokovic will finish his career as the most dominant in terms of weeks at the top that the game has ever seen.

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