"Give Steffi Graf the honor she deserves" - Billie Jean King counters claims of Novak Djokovic being longest-serving World No. 1 in history
Tennis great Billie Jean King recently corrected claims of Novak Djokovic being the longest-serving World No. 1 in history. King pointed out that the record is still held by Djokovic's fellow 22-time Grand Slam champion Steffi Graf.
Novak Djokovic won the 2023 Australian Open in January, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-5) in the final. He regained his World No. 1 ranking with the title, kicking off a record-extending 374th week atop the ATP Rankings.
However, tennis legend Steffi Graf still holds the all-time record for most weeks at the top of the rankings, with 377 weeks as the World No. 1. The Serb has not yet broken the record.
If he maintains his position at the top for three more weeks, he will tie Graf's record. And if he holds that position for another week, he will surpass it.
In light of this, Billie Jean King took to social media to point out a mistake on the internet via the "Correct the Internet" initiative. The fact that Novak Djokovic appeared in the results when searching for "which tennis player has spent the longest time ranked number one," instead of Steffi Graf, didn't sit well with King.
The American said that even though Djokovic might soon take the position, it's important to acknowledge Graf's record and treat her with the "honor she deserves."
"New favorite campaign: @correcttheinternet. Correct The Internet is a global initiative created to correct bias and help make sportswomen more visible. When searching for 'which tennis player has spent the longest time ranked number 1', the results often come up with Novak Djokovic, but the facts say it’s actually Stefanie Graf," King wrote.
"Novak will soon claim the spot, but it's important to recognize Stefanie to give her the honor she deserves," she added.
Steffi Graf is the only player in tennis history to win the Golden Slam
Steffi Graf is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She won 22 Grand Slam titles in a 16-year professional career, second only to Serena Williams (23) since the Open Era began in 1968, and third only to Margaret Court (24) overall.
Graf has many accomplishments and holds many records, but one achievement in her career stands out: winning the Golden Slam. The German is the only player in tennis history to achieve that feat, male or female.
The Golden Slam is when a player wins all four Grand Slam titles - the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open - in addition to the Olympic gold medal in the same year. Given the Olympics' four-year cycle, it is an extremely difficult feat to pull off.
However, Graff made it look easy in 1988 when she accomplished the Golden Slam at the age of 19, setting a record that may never be broken.
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