Novak Djokovic on Friday emulated childhood hero Pete Sampras by claiming the year-end world number one ranking for the sixth time. Djokovic, 33, used to be confirmed in the position after Rafael Nadal, the only man who could deny him top spot, opted not to play in the Sofia event next week. Djokovic used to be also a season-ending world number one in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018. “Pete used to be somebody I looked up to when I used to be growing up, in an effort to match his record is a dream come true,” said Djokovic.
The Serbian star, a winner of 17 Grand Slam titles, had already moved past Sampras’ tally of 286 weeks in the top spot in September.
Djokovic can go past all-time record-holder Roger Federer’s mark of 310 weeks on March 8 next year.
“To finish the year as No.1 is among the most impressive achievements in our sport, one which requires sustained excellence across the season,” said ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.
“To see Novak achieve this for the sixth time and match Pete’s record is simply improbable, and he continues to cement his place in the history books.”
Djokovic has compiled a 39-3 winning season, picking up four titles — a record eighth Australian Open, Dubai, the Cincinnati tournament, which used to be staged in New York, and in Rome.
Alternatively, he used to be disqualified from the United States Open for hitting a line pass judgement on with a ball before his tender to win a second Roland Garros ended in a tame defeat to Nadal in the last.
Djokovic used to be practically assured of ending 2020 on top of the rankings when he reached the quarter-finals in Vienna final month.
He used to be stunned 6-2, 6-1 by Italian fortunate loser Lorenzo Sonego in the Austrian capital, suffering the heaviest loss of his career in a best-of-three sets conflict.
“I have done what I came here for, securing the number 1. And I’m totally fine with today’s result,” he said to a few consternation.
Later this month, Djokovic will attempt to safe a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals trophy in London from November 15.
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