A player has a greater chance of winning a Slam than finishing No. 1: Novak Djokovic on why ranking record is his biggest goal

Novak Djokovic in action at the 2020 Erste Bank Open
Novak Djokovic in action at the 2020 Erste Bank Open
Modified 29 Oct 2020

Notwithstanding the controversies around him, 2020 has proven to be one of the most decisive years in the career of Novak Djokovic. The Serb might have won just one Slam this season, but his mind-boggling form throughout has brought him on the cusp of several records.

Foremost among them is the record for most weeks as World No. 1, which currently belongs to Roger Federer at 310 weeks. At the time of writing Novak Djokovic is just 18 weeks shy of that mark, having spent 292 weeks on the ATP throne.

In terms of Grand Slams, Novak Djokovic is also close to the record tally of 20 held by both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

While speaking to Sasa Ozmo after his win over Borna Coric at the 2020 Erste Bank Open, the World No. 1 explained the importance of both these records in his quest of being labelled as the one true ‘GOAT'.

“From what I have seen and it is obviously so, most people that follow and love tennis are emphasizing Grand Slam titles and weeks at No. 1 in the world, as well as year-end number one seasons,” Djokovic said. “I do not know which one I would choose as the most significant; for me those two are perhaps equally important.”

Grand Slams take place four times a year, and as such offer every player multiple chances to achieve glory. But the Serb considers the No. 1 ranking more important, as it requires greater consistency and dedication.

Novak Djokovic is most keen to go past Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic is most keen to go past Roger Federer's record of 310 weeks

For that reason, Novak Djokovic's biggest goal right now is to break Roger Federer's record of 310 weeks.

“You could argue that a player has a greater chance of blossoming, playing tennis of his life in those two weeks and winning a Slam compared to odds of a player maintaining that rhythm and level of play throughout the year, which would make him the world No. 1 at the end of the season,” Djokovic continued. “That is why the historic No. 1 (record) is the biggest goal of mine at the moment, because I know how difficult and demanding it is. I am very close and I hope I will achieve that goal.”

Moving on to the discussion about the ‘GOAT' in tennis, the Serb maintained that he was not in a position to talk about it. Djokovic had previously stated how it was the fans and experts who would make the judgement after each of the Big 3 are done with their careers, and he reiterated that again.

“But again, I do not feel right; it does not feel comfortable for me to comment on who is the GOAT,” Djokovic explained. “I will leave that to others.”

Borna Coric is a great fighter: Novak Djokovic 

Novak Djokovic is full of praise for Borna Coric
Novak Djokovic is full of praise for Borna Coric

The World No. 1 may have gotten past Borna Coric in straight sets on Wednesday, but it was far from a straightforward affair. Novak Djokovic had to save four set points in the first set, being forced to play some clutch tennis in the tiebreaker.

While speaking about the match in his on-court interview, Novak Djokovic lauded the Croat by calling him a ‘great fighter'.

“It was very tiring and very challenging,” Djokovic said. “Obviously Borna is a great fighter. He’s a very good friend of mine. Off the court we’ve known each other for quite a long time.”

The Serb then drew parallels with his game and Coric's, explaining that the Croat was also very solid on the backhand wing. Novak Djokovic further revealed how Coric's accurate and powerful serve made returning difficult for him during the opening set.

“He has kind of a similar style of tennis as I do,” Djokovic continued. “From the backhand corner (he’s) very solid (and he is) trying to create points with his forehand. He was serving very well, especially in the first set. It was very difficult for me to return his serve.”
Published 29 Oct 2020
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