ovak Djokovic equalled Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks as world No1 on Monday – and is guaranteed to eclipse his big rival next week.
The 33-year-old Serb served notice of his intentions by taking the Australian Open in Melbourne last month and will record his 311th week as the top-ranked tennis star next Monday.
Djokovic has been helped by temporary changes to the ranking system, imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, that mean players can count tournaments from two years instead of one.
But there is no doubt Djokovic remains the world’s best player, as evidenced by win over Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open Final – the ninth time he has won the first Slam of the year.
He has begun 2021 by winning nine consecutive matches while last year he did not lose a completed match until the French Open Final in October.
Djokovic’s fifth spell at the top of the rankings began on February 3 last year, and he has been No1 for all but 32 weeks since Federer hit 310 weeks in June 2018.
His previous longest stint as No1 was 122 weeks between July 2014 and November 2016.
Djokovic sits on 12,030 points, more than 2,000 clear of Rafael Nadal, with Medvedev and Dominic Thiem the only other players with more than 7,000 points.
Breaking the record is set to mean Djokovic plays only sparingly while restrictions prevent his young family from travelling alongside him, with the Serbian heavily prioritising the Grand Slams as he chases down his other major goal of winning more Grand Slams than Federer and Nadal, who each have 20.
Djokovic’s trophy in Melbourne took him to 18 Slam titles and he said: “After achieving the historic number for the longest weeks at number one, it’s going to be a relief for me because I’m going to focus all my attention on slams mostly.”
Federer, 39, is set to return from injury at Qatar Open in March. The Swiss had two knee surgeries in 2020 and hasn’t played since the 2020 Australian Open last January when he lost to Djokovic in the semi-finals