Novak Djokovic (Player Bio) is celebrating a magnificent milestone as World no. 1 for 100 weeks. He joins Andre Agassi (101), Rafael Nadal (102), Bjorn Borg (109), John McEnroe (170), Jimmy Connors (268), Ivan Lendl (270), Pete Sampras (286) and Roger Federer (302) as the only eight players ever to achieve this honour.
In a journey that began in the beginning of the 2011, Djokovic has exerted a remarkable effort to maintain a stranglehold of the no. 1 spot for the majority of the past 2+ years, relinquishing the title briefly to Roger Federer in 2012. He has finished as world no. 1 for two consecutive years and is currently in the lead for a third year-end title. This is a extraordinary feat considering his abysmal 2010.
In 2011, Djokovic took up a relatively new diet which eliminated gluten from his food consumption. Apart from dropping 11 pounds over the next few months, Djokovic witnessed one of the best ATP seasons of all time, with 10 tournament wins, including 3 Grand Slam titles and a record-breaking 5 ATP Masters 1000 titles. He also broke the record for the most prize-money won in a single season.
“I was taught to dream big and to dream to be No. 1 in the world,” says Djokovic. “It takes years of hard work and dedication. It is a long process to become a champion. Tennis is a very specific and unique sport, where you take all the credit or all the blame.”
The 26-year-old may be facing his toughest end-of-season swing this year, with world no. 2 Rafael Nadal close behind in the peaking order. The Spaniard is facing arguably his best season to date with 10 titles, including the French and US Open titles and a 63-3 record this season – which includes an undefeated streak on hard courts in 2013. Djokovic, now well accustomed his position, does not intend on relinquishing his crown just yet.
“There are still a lot of tournaments to come,” says Djokovic, “Calculations are not on my mind right now. I am trying to feed on the confidence that I have.”
Djokovic will need to successfully defend his 500 ATP points at the Beijing Open next week to remain at the no. 1 spot, yet if Nadal reaches the final of the tournament, he will once again climb to the top of the rankings.