It’s a special week for Novak Djokovic as the Serb has reached another milestone. This week marks the 171st week that Djokovic has spent atop the ATP Rankings. That moves him past John McEnroe and into 5th all-time on the ranking list.
ATP All-Time Weeks At No. 1
302 Roger Federer
286 Pete Sampras
270 Ivan Lendl
268 Jimmy Connors
171 Novak Djokovic
170 John McEnroe
“You’ve got to have the self discipline and the dedication, devotion, but most of all passion for the sport, for what you do and keep on waking up every day knowing what your big victory is and what you are aiming for,” Djokovic told the ATP.
“Believing in yourself, in your abilities, is something that when you are younger most people are lacking. Obviously, you want everything to come right away and you want to experience success instantly, which is in most cases not possible. You have to work for it.”
To catch Jimmy Connors for fourth at 268 weeks, Djokovic would have to hang on to No. 1 for almost two more years! And he’ll have to stay on top of another 2.5 years (French Open 2018?) to overtake Roger Federer’s record of 302 weeks.
“One thing that I really respect about Novak is that he’s trying to add that little bit more to his game,” McEnroe said. “This year, he has been a bit more aggressive off his return and has been more willing to come forward. That extra five per cent is a huge difference in a big moment against a Federer or [Rafael] Nadal, or other great players.
“I have seen a lot of great things from him, but I didn’t see this high level and this consistency. It has been one of the most magnificent years I have seen since I’ve been watching tennis. It’s remarkable how consistent he has been; he is like a human backboard right now.”
This week Djokovic is the defending champion and top seed at the Paris Indoors. He’ll play Thomaz Bellucci in the second round.
“If I don’t do as well the last two tournaments of course it wouldn’t ruin my season, because I still think it’s the best season I’ve ever had,” Djokovic said. “But on the other hand, it’s true that it also puts some pressure on me. But I always want to go as far as possible. As the No. 1 in the world and defending champion there is an extra responsibility to do well. It’s not just about playing in this tournament, but putting it in perspective.
“People watch you play, pay for their tickets. Just showing up isn’t enough: you have to give it your all, the fans want to see you play your best tennis. The BNPPM is one of the biggest tournaments in the world. Playing here and then in the Masters in London is a great way to end the season. I can assure you that everyone will be giving it everything they’ve got left.”
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