Novak Djokovic is on the verge of an historic all-time rankings record. Another week spent by Djokovic as the World No. 1 will break his tie with Steffi Graf and make him the only player ever, male or female, to top the world rankings for 378 weeks.
The Serb is now confirmed to break Graf's record and set his own world record next Monday itself.
The only player who could have dethroned Djokovic as the new World No. 1 as early as next week was the returning Carlos Alcaraz, who marked his comeback by winning the Argentina Open on Sunday. Alcaraz is also competing at the Rio Open this week, an ATP 500 event, while the Serb is not playing any of the three ATP events on the calendar - Rio de Janeiro, Doha (250), or Marseille (250).
If Alcaraz wins the Rio Open, he would bag 500 points and be tied on 6,980 ranking points with the top-ranked Serb, who will drop 90 points this week from last year's run to the Dubai Open quarterfinals.
However, Djokovic will still retain the world No. 1 ranking due to the tiebreaker rule for the ATP rankings. As per the 2023 ATP rulebook, when two players have the same number of points, the first criterion for breaking the tie is the 'fewest events played' in the ranking period as of that week. If both players are still tied, the player with more total points from Grand Slams, Masters 1000 mandatory tournaments, and ATP Finals during the ranking period would be granted a higher ranking.
Djokovic has already played fewer tournaments during this period, with 15 to Alcaraz's 18 (after Rio Open participation). Additionally, he also has more total points in the three big categories mentioned above, with 5,820 points to Alcaraz's 5,090. The Serb has won two Grand Slam titles (Wimbledon and Australian Open) and the ATP Finals during the period in question.
While Alcaraz will have the opportunity to regain the No. 1 ranking later this month, the Serbian great will retain his top spot for now, marking his record-breaking week as the top-ranked player.
Novak Djokovic recovers from injury and hits practice nets in Serbia, set to compete in Dubai Tennis Championships
Novak Djokovic was recently seen hard at practice at the Novak Tennis Center in Serbia, confirming that he has fully recovered from a serious hamstring injury which he endured en route to his 10th Australian Open title three weeks ago. The Serb is set to return to the tour at next week's Dubai Tennis Championships, an ATP 500 event.
With Carlos Alcaraz not expected to play in Dubai after playing the Rio Open this week, Djokovic can extend his lead at the top of the rankings even if the Spaniard wins in Rio de Janeiro and both players are tied in the rankings. However, with the 35-year-old's Indian Wells Open and Miami Open participation in serious doubt, Alcaraz will once again have the opportunity to regain the No. 1 spot.
Djokovic has won a combined 10 titles in Indian Wells and Miami.
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