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Djokovic begins 311th career week at No. 1, breaking Federer’s record
Since first rising to No. 1 on the ATP rankings after winning Wimbledon on July 4, 2011, the Serb has spent 64.26 percent of the time at the top spot—and 85.54 percent of the time in the Top 2.
Published Mar 08, 2021
He secured it at the Australian Open a few weeks ago, and now it’s finally here: Novak Djokovic has broken Roger Federer’s record for most career weeks at No. 1 in ATP rankings history.
Today—March 8, 2021—Djokovic kicks off his 311th week at the top spot to pass Federer's mark of 310.
Djokovic has often pointed to Grand Slams and weeks at No. 1 as his two biggest professional goals. With 18, he’s just two behind Federer and Rafael Nadal’s shared record of 20 career Grand Slam titles.
“Now, after achieving the historic No. 1 for the longest weeks at No. 1, it’s going to be a relief for me, because I’m going to focus all my attention on Slams, mostly,” the Serb said after winning his ninth Australian Open title two weeks ago. “When you are going for No. 1 rankings, you kind of have to be playing the entire season, and you have to be playing well, you have to play all the tournaments.
“My goals will adapt and will shift a little bit, which means that I will have an opportunity to adjust also my calendar, which, as a father and a husband, I’m really looking forward to that. Judging by what we’re seeing around the world, having family on the road with me will be a very difficult task, because if I’m going to travel around, I have to take my coaches and everything, and we have rules in place that don’t allow more than I think two people at tournaments to travel with you, other than Slams.”
Djokovic first rose to No. 1 on July 4, 2011, after winning the first of now five Wimbledon titles. But he had been within reach of the top spot for a while—the Belgrade native could have clinched it a month earlier by reaching the French Open final, but fell to Federer in the semis to end his 41-0 start to 2011.
“Obviously the No. 1 ranking is still far away, even though I’ve been winning every match I play this year,” said Djokovic, who had been 41-0 on the year going into that semifinal match in Paris. “I still need to do more. If I ever get that No. 1 in the world, that would be a dream come true for me.
“That’s always been my life dream.”
Djokovic would clinch it four weeks later after his triumph at the All England Club, and since then, has enjoyed five separate stints at No. 1: July 4, 2011 to July 8, 2012 (53 weeks); November 5, 2012 to October 6, 2013 (48 weeks); July 7, 2014 to November 6, 2016 (122 weeks); November 5, 2018 to November 3, 2019 (52 weeks); and February 3, 2020 to the current week of March 8, 2021 (36 weeks).
And in almost a decade since first rising to No. 1, he’s been a fixture at the top.
In the 484 weeks of ATP rankings since July 4, 2011, not including the 22 weeks the rankings were frozen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Djokovic has spent…
~ 311 of 484 weeks at No. 1 (64.26%)
~ 103 of 484 weeks at No. 2 (21.28%)
~ 70 of 484 weeks outside the Top 2 (14.46%)
His only stint outside the Top 2 since March 21, 2011 was a 70-week period between June 12, 2017 and October 14, 2018, at one point dipping out of the Top 20 as he struggled with a right elbow injury.
Djokovic won his first Wimbledon title on Sunday, July 3, 2011, then rose to No. 1 the next day (Getty Images)
Half of the players in the Top 10 when Djokovic first rose to No. 1 have since retired: Robin Soderling, David Ferrer, Mardy Fish, Tomas Berdych and Andy Roddick, who were No. 5, No. 6, No. 8, No. 9 and No. 10 that week, have all hung up their racquets in the years since. Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Andy Murray and Gael Monfils, who were No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 7 that week, are still going.
In addition to weeks at No. 1, the 33-year-old has the record for most ATP Masters 1000 titles with 36 (Nadal's next with 35) and career prize money with $147,744,252 (Federer's next with $129,946,683).
More groundbreaking records are within Djokovic's reach in 2021, including the aforementioned Grand Slam race, where he sits two behind Federer and Nadal, 20-20-18. He's also aiming to finish this season as year-end No. 1 for a record seventh time on the men's tour, having equaled Sampras last November.