Novak Djokovic has clinched the year-end No 1 ATP Ranking for the sixth time to go level with his idol Pete Sampras’ record. Djokovic was crowned No 1 after his closes rival Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Sofia Open, which will begin on Monday.
At 33 years of age, Djokovic also sets a new record as the oldest year-end No 1.
The Serbian, who finishes as World No 1 for the sixth time in the past 10 years (also 2011-12, ‘14-15 and ‘18), draws level with 14-time major champion Sampras, who ended six straight years at the pinnacle of men’s professional tennis between 1993 and 1998.
“Pete was somebody I looked up to when I was growing up, so to match his record is a dream come true” said Djokovic.
“I will also keep striving to be a better player, hopefully have more success and break more records in a sport I love with all my heart.”
“To finish the year as No.1 is one of the most impressive achievements in our sport, one which requires sustained excellence across the season,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman.
“To see Novak achieve this for the sixth time and match Pete’s record is simply incredible, and he continues to cement his place in the history books.”
The Big 3, who have dominated men’s tennis for the best part of last 20 years, have left a mark here as well, claiming 16 No 1 finishes in the past 17 years.
Roger Federer finished to the top of the rankings from 2004-07 and in 2009, Nadal was No 1 in 2008, 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019 while Novak Djokovic had finished at No 1 in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2020.
Andy Murray was the only exception, clinching the top position in men’s tennis in 2016.
Djokovic, who began his fifth stint at World No. 1 on 3 February 2020, has enjoyed another stellar season, capturing four titles — including one Grand Slam championship and two ATP Masters 1000 crowns — from five tour-level finals, as well as helping Serbia win the inaugural ATP Cup in January.
Djokovic, who moved past Sampras’ tally of 286 weeks in the top spot on 21 September 2020, will begin his 294th week overall at No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday.
If he does not relinquish his hold on the top spot, Djokovic will move past all-time record-holder Federer’s mark of 310 weeks on 8 March 2021.