Rome, Sep 22: Novak Djokovic, who has started his 287th week at the number one position in the ATP Rankings, has gone past Pete Sampras (286 weeks) for second place in the all-time list of most weeks at the numero uno spot.
Sampras, who was ranked number one for the first time on April 12, 1993, spent a total of 11 stints in top spot, with his longest run of 102 weeks between April 15, 1996 and March 29, 1998.
On Monday, Djokovic won the men’s singles title at the Italian Open after defeating Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in straight sets. He defeated Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3 to clinch a record-breaking 36th Masters 1000 crown, one more than Rafael Nadal.
“Pete was my childhood idol growing up, so of course surpassing his record is very special to me,” said Djokovic as per the ATP Tour website.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who began his fifth stint at the summit of men’s professional tennis on February 3, 2020, is now 24 weeks away from breaking Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks at No. 1. If he continues to hold onto the top spot, he will pass the Swiss legend’s record on March 8 next year.
“This is one of my two biggest professional goals,” said Djokovic. “To reach the record of, (and) surpass Roger’s record for longest (time at) No. 1 and win as many (Grand) Slams as possible. I have been saying that before, so I’m working towards that. I’m at a good place right now, in a good position. Hopefully I can stay healthy and continue to play well,” he added. (IANS)