Novak Djokovic has broken the record for the most time spent at number one in the professional tennis rankings by a man or woman, beginning his 378th week in the ATP’s top spot to surpass Steffi Graf’s 377 leading the WTA.
- Novak Djokovic passed Roger Federer for the longest time atop the men’s rankings in March 2021
- He got the top spot back after winning the Australian Open in January
- Djokovic is trying to get an exemption to play upcoming tournaments in the US
He already held the men’s mark, eclipsing Roger Federer’s old ATP standard of 310 weeks in March 2021.
“I’m flattered, obviously. Extremely, extremely proud and happy for this achievement,” Djokovic said in a video posted on social media, in which he referred to Graf as “one of the greatest, most-legendary tennis players”.
After Djokovic and Graf on the list of most weeks as number one are Martina Navratilova, with 332, and Serena Williams, with 319, followed by Federer. Computerised rankings began in the 1970s.
Djokovic has finished seven years atop the ATP, another men’s record.
The 35-year-old from Serbia returned to number one this time by winning the Australian Open in January, jumping up from number five to overtake Carlos Alcaraz, who missed the first major of the year.
While the title at Melbourne Park was Djokovic’s 22nd at a grand slam tournament — equalling Rafael Nadal for the most by a man in tennis history — he is still trailing Williams’s record of 23 in the Open era, and Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24.
Djokovic is 12-0 so far in 2023, heading into this week’s tournament in Dubai.
He managed to get back to the top of the rankings, despite not being able to enter a handful of big tournaments in 2022, including the Australian Open and US Open, because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
While he was able to compete for his 10th Australian Open title this year after the government relaxed its travel restrictions, his status for two key events in the United States that begin in March — at Indian Wells and in Miami — is still in doubt, and he has asked for permission to be allowed to travel to the country.
The US travel restrictions are expected to be relaxed before the US Open in September.