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Novak Djokovic set for incredible new rankings milestone as No 1 reign continues

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Novak Djokovic has only played 12 regular tour matches in 2024, but his reign as world No 1 is set to continue after the events at this week’s Madrid Open.

Djokovic will toast his 37th birthday later this month and history would suggest he should not be topping the ATP Rankings at that relatively mature age for an athlete.

Yet with most of the ranking points in Djokovic’s current record compiled in the second half of 2023, he is still holding a strong lead over Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz in the race to be No 1.

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ATP Rankings are based on the points earned by the players over the preceding 52-week time frame, with Djokovic’s current total of 9,990 including the 2,000 ranking points he collected at of the French Open and US Open last year.

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He also has 1,200 ranking points on his record from his run to last year’s Wimbledon final, 1,000 points from each of his wins at the Cincinnati and Paris Masters tournaments and 1,300 from his ATP Finals win in Turin last November, where he beat Sinner in the final.

All of those points will come off Djokovic’s ranking in the coming months and with Sinner a little over 1,000 points behind the Serbian in the current live rankings, he could be close to toppling him if he wins this week’s Madrid Open.

Sinner would have been just 330 points behind Djokovic in the rankings if he won in Madrid and that would have given him a glorious chance to overtake the Serbian – who has opted against playing in the Spanish’s capital – in the Rome Masters event that gets underway on May 8.

Yet Sunner was forced to withdraw from the Madrid Open due to an ongoing hip injury and there have to be doubts whether he will now play at the ATP 1000 tournament in Rome.

It means Djokovic is guaranteed to toast his 37th birthday on May 22nd as world No 1, extending his record as the oldest world No 1 in the history of the rankings.

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Djokovic has admitted he is no longer focused on the world No 1 ranking, as he has held that position for more than two years more than any player in history over the course of his remarkable career.

“It’s a matter of weeks before Sinner becomes world No 1,” declared Djokovic earlier this month. “This year the ranking is not my goal.”He’s the strongest at the moment. He has shown it

since the start of this season by being extremely dominant. The results are the consequence of the tennis he is developing, of the confidence accumulated with victories will become world No 1 if he manages to remain as strong.

“When you have a start to the season like that, you give yourself a good chance of achieving this objective, but it will go through the work which will bring the result which, itself, will bring the ranking. He certainly has other objectives before becoming world No 1.”

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Djokovic could lose his No 1 status if he lost in the early stages of the French Open, but this enduring champion continues to set new records and he believes there is much more to come.

“This year it’s a bit different, but that’s okay, that’s fine,” said Djokovic last month. “There’s still flare inside, I still want to do more in this sport, I still enjoy the thrill of the competition and see how far I can go.

“We’re just in the fourth month of the season. The tennis season is very long, still have three Slams, the Olympic Games, many other tournaments. So going to get ready and try to win more.”

“I like competing with different generations. You have the young guys that are coming up – Alcaraz, Sinner – they’re all incredibly hungry and fit and fast, but I use my adaptability to adjust my tactics and my game to them and understand what it takes to stay at the top and compete with these guys and try to win more titles.

“It hasn’t been the start that I’ve had for most of my career. I’ve been really blessed and fortunate to kick-start most of the seasons in the last 20 years of my career with a win in Australia and that has been very nice to me.

“Obviously when you kickstart the year with a Grand Slam win you get the wind in your sails and it sets the tone for the rest of the season.

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“I feel like it’s so important always to remind yourself to be in the present moment, really to appreciate, to acknowledge, to remember where you came from, the journey, the path, also the people that surround you,” he added.

“I have a lot of people around me other than my family and the closest people in my life. There’s a great team of people that really helps me perform at my best when it’s most necessary. And you know, tennis is also a sport that has a very long season, very, very intense calendar and schedules.

“So every single week there’s something new happening and new events. So I think I will truly be able to appreciate everything that we have accomplished really, only post-career, to be honest, because while you’re still active it’s – what’s the next task, what’s the next challenge?”

 

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