Novak Djokovic has secured an incredible statistical milestone involving his great rival Rafael Nadal after it was guaranteed he would extend his record for most weeks at world No 1.

The exit of world No 2 Carlos Alcaraz in the opening round of the Rio Open due to injury on Tuesday means Djokovic will remain as the ATP world No 1 until at least April 1.

This will see Djokovic’s mammoth record tally of weeks spent on top of the rankings stretch to 418 weeks, extending his already substantial lead over his rivals in this category.

This total of 418 weeks is, incredibly, exactly double the number of weeks Nadal has spent as world No 1, with the great Spaniard having occupied the position for 209 weeks.

To build such a commanding lead over the player Djokovic has frequently labelled his greatest rival is an amazing accomplishment and illustrative of the 36-year-old’s unmatched dominance.

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The Serbian’s other great rival, Roger Federer, is in second place in terms of most weeks at No 1 with 310, while Pete Sampras sits third on 286.

Djokovic has won a men’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, while Nadal and Federer sit second and third on the all-time list with 22 and 20 respectively.

The Serbian icon spoke about his rivalry with Nadal at last year’s French Open, where the Spaniard was absent for the first time since 2004 due to his hip injury.

“A lot of people retired him already 10 years ago but he kept going, which is something I respect and admire. I know how hard it is to maintain that level and keep going even after having a tough injury,” Djokovic said in a press conference.

“I have to say that he’s my biggest rival. When he announced that he’s going to have his last season of [his] career [in 2024], I felt part of me is leaving with him too. I feel that he was one of the most impactful people that I have ever had in my career, the growth of my career and me as a player.

“Definitely a great motivational factor for me to keep playing and keep competing and keep pushing each other – who’s going achieve more, who’s going to do better.”

Djokovic capped off an outstanding 2023 season by securing a record-extending eighth finish as the ATP year-end world No 1.

READ MORE: What Carlos Alcaraz’s Rio misfortune means for Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner in ATP Rankings race

2024-02-21T17:47:48Z dg43tfdfdgfd