It was almost two years to the day since Novak Djokovic held the world No.1 ranking and now he starts his 224th week at the top of the tennis tree. He is behind only Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors for most weeks as world No.1
“Reflecting on what I’ve been through in the last year, it’s quite a phenomenal achievement,” Djokovic said. “Of course, I’m very, very happy and proud about it. Five months ago, if you told me that, I would be — I always believe in myself, but it was highly improbable at that time considering my ranking and the way I played and felt on the court. I’ll probably be able to speak more profoundly about it when the season is done and hopefully if I get to finish as No. 1.”
Djokovic is the first man since Marat Safin in 2000 to go from outside the top 20 (he was 22 in 21 May) to No.1 in a single season. Tat ranking of 22 was the lowest Djokovic had been since he was a 19-year-old in October, 2006.
Tournament Director Michael Luevano said: “It’s been quite a year for Novak going from outside the top 20 to No.1. That is a very rare and incredible achievement. We are thrilled he is our titleholder. He is the only player to have won the Rolex Shanghai Masters four times and all of us at the tournament wish him every success.”
Up to May Djokovic had a 6-6 win-loss record; since then he is at 43-5 and since the start of Wimbledon he is 31-2 and since July he has won Wimbledon, Cincinnati, the US Open and the Rolex Shanghai Masters.
NOTE: Since this report was written, Rafa Nadal withdrew from the ATP Finals. He and Novak Djokovic were in a race for the year-end No.1 that would have been decided in London. Nadal’s withdrawal has given Djokovic a clear passage and he will end the year No.1. That makes him the first man to go from outside the top 20 to year-end No.1 in a single season.