Novak Djokovic demonstrated to the world that he is not just one of the great four in tennis but also the best in terms of pure statistics and being the ultimate beast on the court. Djokovic, playing some of his best tennis at 36, can officially declare 2023 as his year as he ended on the top of the ATP Year-End World No. 1 ranking for a record-extending eighth time and officially became the first man to win 24 Grand Slam titles.
He has tied Margaret Court for the most ever of any player in any era. The record 24-time Grand Slam champion has scripted many historic records to his name.
It was a record-breaking year, from the Brisbane International in January to representing Serbia in the Davis Cup in November, with a calendar grand slam apparently within grasp. While he failed to replicate Rod Laver and Don Budge’s record, he did claim many other records as his own.
In 2023, Djokovic surpassed Rafael Nadal by winning three Grand Slams, giving him a total of 24 Major trophies. The Serbian came near to winning a calendar slam but was stopped by Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon. Only two men have ever won a calendar slam: Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969.
Djokovic won his 40th ATP Masters title as he bagged the Paris Masters crown. Nadal holds the second position in the list with 36 victories, while Roger Federer has 28. The Serbian also won the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati, defeating Carlos Alcaraz after coming back from a set down. Djokovic is also the only player to have won all nine masters titles since the tournament’s start in 1990.
With six ATP Finals championships, he was tied with Roger Federer for the most. In 2023, he surpassed the Swiss legend by winning his seventh title in Turin, defeating local star Jannik Sinner. His 71st ‘Big Title’ – a combination of Grand Slams, ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, ATP Finals, and Olympic singles gold – was also won.
Only an Olympic gold medal remains elusive for the world number one. Serbia’s finest Olympic achievement was a bronze medal in Beijing in 2008.
The 36-year-old Serbian was involved in a back-and-forth battle for the title of world number one at the end of the year. Despite Alcaraz’s challenge, Djokovic prevailed. In the first round of the ATP Finals, he defeated Holger Rune to claim his eighth ATP year-end no. 1.
Djokovic has the most year-end finishes at the top of the ATP rankings, with six, followed by Pete Sampras. With five, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Jimmy Connors are tied for third place.
After winning the ATP Finals in November, the 24-time Grand Slam champion began his 400th week as world no. 1 in the ATP Rankings, adding another feather to his crown. Earlier this year, he broke Steffi Graf’s record of 377 weeks at world number one, being the only player in either gender to do it. Federer holds the record for the most consecutive weeks as world number one, with 237 weeks.
Djokovic is on his way to winning his 100th title; he now has 98. Only Roger Federer (103 points) and Jimmy Connors (109 points) are ahead of him.
Meanwhile, India’s star player Rohan Bopanna went about his job quietly throughout 2023, becoming a sports icon and achieving World No. 3 in the doubles rankings. Bopanna, together with Australian Matthew Edben, reached heights that few Indians have attained, and this at the age of 43, when most players retire.
Bopanna was rated 19th in the world at the start of the year, but has already risen 16 places. They reached the ATP Finals and advanced to the tournament’s semi-finals thanks to their higher ranking.
Notably, after not competing in international tennis since the Australian Open, the 22-time major champion Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he will be returning to the tennis court at Brisbane International which begins in the first week of January 2024.
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