Novak Djokovic to outdo Graf as Serb adds more weight to GOAT debate

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Novak Djokovic has officially equalled Steffi Graf’s all-time record of weeks at world No 1 following the rankings update on Monday and is now just seven days away from surpassing the German tennis legend’s immense achievement. This week marks the Serb’s 377th week at the top spot and he is guaranteed to remain the world No 1 next Monday. That will see him set a new record which will give him another boost in the GOAT debate against long-time rival Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic has added another record to his impressive career portfolio this week, equalling Graf’s all-time weeks at No 1. The Serb was able to set the ATP record almost two years ago when he surpassed Roger Federer’s 310 weeks at the top spot in March 2021, and he is now just a week away from doing the same to Graf.

It gives the 35-year-old yet another boost in his bid to go down as the greatest player of all time and comes just weeks after he was able to match another record – Nadal’s 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles – by winning the recent Australian Open. The Serb has made it no secret that he is hoping to write his name in the record books and has done so once again with his latest feat.

“I still have lots of motivation. Let’s see how far it takes me,” Djokovic said of his quest to keep making history after winning a record 10th Australian Open title last month. “I really don’t want to stop here. I don’t have [the] intention to stop here. I feel great about my tennis. I know that when I’m feeling good physically, mentally present, I have a chance to win any Slam against anybody.”

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Djokovic was able to return to the world No 1 spot following his Aussie Open win, helping him rack up enough weeks to equal Graf and soon surpass her record. Addressing his ranking following his victory in Melbourne Park, he added: “I like my chances going forward.

“But, again, nothing is given or nothing is for granted. Of course, I’m aware there’s a lot of players that want this trophy or want the No 1 position in the world.” But Djokovic himself admitted that he was more relieved to break the ATP record for most weeks at No 1 two years ago when he surpassed Federer’s total of 310.

“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,” he said during the 2021 Australian Open, where he won his ninth title to guarantee at least 311 weeks at the top.

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“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.”

And Djokovic has done just that ever since, reducing his schedule to allow him to prioritise the Grand Slams while missing some of the smaller tournaments during the year. The world No 1 is next expected to be back in action at next week’s Dubai Championships where he will be bidding to win his third title of the year after going undefeated so far this season, lifting trophies in Adelaide and Melbourne.

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