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Novak Djokovic to finish year at No. 1 for sixth time, tying Pete Sampras' record

Gary Mondello
·2-min read
Serbia's Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open in 2020. (Andy Brownbill/AP)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open in 2020. (Andy Brownbill/AP)

Novak Djokovic is still the one.

Djokovic will finish 2020 as the world’s No. 1-ranked men’s tennis player for the sixth time, equaling the mark set by his childhood hero Pete Sampras, who accomplished the feat from 1993-98.

“Pete was somebody I looked up to when I was growing up, so to match his record is a dream come true,” said Djokovic, who also finished the year ranked No. 1 in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018. “I will also keep striving to be a better player, hopefully have more success and break more records in a sport I love with all my heart.”

Not playing as much in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Djokovic owns a 39-3 record with titles at the Australian Open, Dubai Tennis Championships, Western & Southern Open and Italian Open. He lost to Rafael Nadal in the French Open final last month.

Nadal was the only player who had a chance to overtake Djokovic for the world No. 1 ranking in 2020, but those hopes ended when he withdrew from next week’s Sofia Open.

“To finish the year as No. 1 is one of the most impressive achievements in our sport, one which requires sustained excellence across the season,” ATP chair Andrea Gaudenzi said. “To see Novak achieve this for the sixth time and match Pete’s record is simply incredible, and he continues to cement his place in the history books.”

Djokovic, 33, is also the oldest player to finish as the year-end No. 1. He’s leaving behind quite a legacy, and he’s not finished yet.

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