Hot Feature: At Tennis Summit, Djokovic Stands Alone | ATP Tour

And true to his word, that’s exactly what Djokovic has done this year, eclipsing Sampras’ record.

Because striving is what Djokovic does best. From the very beginning of his career, he relentlessly attacked his weaknesses, turning them into strengths. His second serve is no longer a duty, forehand, sometimes broken under pressure, almost infallible, questionable fitness level that has kept him out of the game for several games. Notable fighting is possibly his biggest asset right now. Djokovic’s habits of eating, sleeping and resting, forged by experience and research, are a model for a professional athlete. Maybe his costs are a bit complicated, but it just means he’s really human.

“Novak was really focused, he was always motivated,” said Ivanisevic. “He always finds some kind of motivation. He wants to get better every day. Something worked today, tomorrow this is not good enough – must be perfect. Guys like that, when they step on the field they just want to win, that’s all.”

Like his strategic on-court approach – no one has hit his spot like Djokovic – there is a pattern to his No 1 shots. Unlike Sampras, when he did it six times in a row, Djokovic has historically maintained a massive effort for two years at a time. He has returned three times in a row now, in 2011-12, 2014-15 and 2020-21.

After Federer and Nadal combined for the last seven consecutive No. 1s, Djokovic broke through in 2011. He won three major titles that year, since the FedEx ATP Rankings. started in 1973, is a 100% indicator for top results. Connors, Mats Wilander, Nadal, Federer (3) and Djokovic (3) are 9 to 9 in that respect. An increasing focus on the majors, as Federer and Nadal later in their careers, was a key factor in Djokovic’s success.

In the seven seasons Djokovic was at No. 1, he won 47 titles, including 14 of his biggest 20, and set a win-loss record of 430-56.

“When you start with winning the Australian Open at the beginning of the year, which I’ve been very fortunate to do for nine years, it puts you in the driver’s seat for the year-end No. his interview with the ATP Tour. “Amass the most points at the Grand Slams and the Masters 1000 – that’s the most important thing, so to speak. I’ve been lucky enough to actually play my best tennis at the events where I was able to collect the most points that really helped me get to this position.”

When you start with a win at the Australian Open at the start of the year… that puts you in the driver’s seat for year-end No. 1.

Novak Djokovic

And Djokovic is not far away from having a few more year-end No. 1 finishes in the past decade. This statistic underscores his incredible consistency: In the four seasons since 2011 where Djokovic hasn’t finished as number one, he has finished second three times.

In 2013, he lost to Nadal two major semi-finals, at Roland Garros and the US Open. In Paris, Rafa finished the match 9-7 in the fifth set. Djokovic lost to Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final, another match that should have been enough to claim the No. 1 spot. Three years later, Murray beat Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 in the Nitto ATP Finals – The only time No. 1 in ATP history later that year went to both players in the final match of the year-end championship. In 2019, Djokovic was only 840 points behind Nadal; defeats to Rafa in the Rome final, to Dominic Thiem in the Roland Garros semi-finals and to Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round of the US Open are all significant failures.

The only time in 11 years Djokovic hasn’t made the Top 2 was in 2017, when he finished 12th – but that year he missed every tournament after Wimbledon because of a right elbow injury.

Sampras was impressed as Djokovic beat Federer and Nadal on their favorite court, where they are widely considered the best ever. On the grass court at Wimbledon, Djokovic defeated Federer in 2014, 2015 and 2019. Similarly, Djokovic defeated Nadal in 2015 and 2021 on red clay at Roland Garros.

“What Novak has done in the last 10 years — I can give you all the adjectives, I mean, I don’t know what to say,” Sampras said. “He is willing to change, he is willing to learn about himself. He’s always looking to get better.

“I was impressed with his transformation. From a very talented, mentally fragile young athlete, to where he is today, it’s great to see it, just sitting and watching him from the sofa. ” | Hot Feature: At Tennis Summit, Djokovic Stands Alone | ATP Tour

Charles Jones

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