Novak Djokovic Overtakes Graf To Become Longest-Reigning No.1 In History - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Overtakes Graf To Become Longest-Reigning No.1 In History

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Novak Djokovic - 2022 Nitto ATP Finals Turin (photo Twitter @atptour)

Novak Djokovic has set yet another record in tennis by becoming the first player to spend a 378th week as world No.1. 

 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion drew level with Steffi Graf last week but has now overtaken her. He has held the top spot for a total of seven years and 14 weeks. To put his dominance in perspective, Djokovic has been No.1 for 168 weeks longer than nemesis Rafael Nadal and 67 weeks longer than Roger Federer who is the only other male player to have surpassed the 300-week benchmark on the men’s Tour.

Djokovic first rose to the top of the ranking on July 4th 2011. Since then he has spent seven separate periods at the top with his longest reign being 122 weeks between July 7th 2014 and November 6th 2016. Over the past decade, there has only been one season where he did not hold the No.1 spot at some stage which was in 2017.

“I still want more achievements,” the AFP news agency quoted Djokovic as saying to reporters on Sunday.
“I’m driven by the goals. I’m as dedicated to the sport really as anybody else.
“Of course, it’s surreal in a way to be that many weeks world number one, to match Steffi Graf, who is one of the all-time greats of our sport, both men and women. Just being amongst these legendary names is flattering. I’m very proud of it.”

The Serbian has no intention of giving up his No.1 spot anytime soon after enjoying a perfect start to 2022 by winning two titles and 12 consecutive matches in Australia. Last month at the Australian Open he drew level with Nadal for most major singles titles won by a male player. 

Djokovic will return to action this week at the Dubai Tennis Championships. He had been bothered by a hamstring injury in recent weeks which threatened to derail his momentum on the Tour but those concerns have since eased. 

“I’m getting closer to a hundred percent. Still not there in terms of the game itself, how I feel on the court. But the important thing is that there is no pain. I don’t have a hindrance to the way I move on the court,” he said of the issue.

Dubai could be a key tournament for Djokovic’s points tally if he is unable to conduct the schedule he would like to do. He is still waiting to hear back from American authorities to see if he will be allowed into the country despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. If Djokovic is refused, he will miss Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami next month which reward up to 2000 ranking points together. 

As of this week, Djokovic has a 200-point lead over Carlos Alcaraz in the race to No.1. 

Djokovic’s No.1 reigns

  1. July 4, 2011 – Jul 8, 2012 (53 weeks)
  2. Nov 5, 2012 – Oct 6, 2013 (48 weeks)
  3. Jul 7, 2014 – Nov 6, 2016 (122 weeks)
  4. Nov 5, 2018 – Nov 3, 2019 (52 weeks)
  5. Feb 3, 2020 – Mar 22, 2020 (7 weeks)
  6. Aug 24, 2020 – Feb 27, 2022 (79 weeks)
  7. Mar 21, 2022 – Jun 12, 2022 (12 weeks)
  8. Jan 30, 2023 – Present (5 weeks)

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Tennis Player Disqualified From Shanghai Qualifying Match Two Points Away From Victory

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Image via https://twitter.com/ATPChallenger/

It will be a match that Australia’s Marc Polmans will never forget but for all the wrong reasons.

 

The World No.140 looked to be on the verge of victory against Italy’s Stefano Napolitano when leading their match 7-6(3), 6-6(6-5), in the final round of qualifying at the Shanghai Masters. However, disaster struck at the next point when Polmans temper got the better of him and subsequently cost him.

With match point, he approached the net to hit a backhand shot but it ended up in the net. Prompting the frustrated 26-year-old to hit a tennis ball that unfortunately hit the umpire. As a result of that action, he was automatically disqualified from the match which handed Napolitano the victory and a place in the main draw.

It is not the first time a tennis player has been disqualified for such an incident. During a 2017 Davis Cup tie between Canada and Great Britain, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified for firing a tennis ball that hit the umpire’s eye. Novak Djokovic was also disqualified from the 2020 US Open after hitting a ball that accidentally struck a lines judge.

“Players shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw
a tennis ball while on the grounds of the tournament site except in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up),
” the 2023 ATP rulebook outlines.
“For purposes of this rule, abuse of balls is defined as intentionally or reckless- ly hitting a ball out of the enclosure of the court, hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with disregard of the conse- quences.’
“Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine of up to $350 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule.”

It is a tough lesson for Polmans to learn. He was on the verge of playing in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career. He is currently the 10th highest-ranked Australian player on the ATP Tour and reached the final of a Challenger event in Guangzhou, China last month.

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Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup

Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day

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Image via Laver Cup twitter

After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.

 

Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”

American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.

“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”

After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:

“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”

The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:

“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”

Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”

Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.

Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.

Results:
T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2

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ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more

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After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10

 

By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

PositionPlayerCountryPts+/-
1DjokovicSerbia117951
2AlcarazSpain8535-1
3MedvedevRussia7280
4RuneDenmark4710 
5TsitsipasGreece46152
6RublevRussia45152
7SinnerItaly4465-1
8FritzUSA39551
9RuudNorway3560-4
10ZverevGermany30302
11TiafoeUSA2690-1
12de MinaurAustralia26851
13PaulUSA26601
14Auger-AliassimeCanada23401
15KhachanovRussia2135-4
16HurkaczPoland20351
17NorrieGB1985-1
18MusettiItaly1925 
19SheltonUSA173528
20DimitrovBulgaria1735-1

A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.

ATP NITTO FINALS

From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.

RankPlayerCountryPts+/-
1DjokovicSerbia89451
2AlcarazSpagna8175-1
3MedvedevRussia6590 
4SinnerItalia4365 
5RublevRussia36401
6TsitsipasGrecia3570-1
7RuneDenmark3055 
8ZverevGermania3030 
9FritzUSA3010 
10RuudNorway2625 

Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.

ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS

The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
1AlcarazSpain817520032
2RuneDenmark305520034
3SheltonUSA1455200219
4MusettiItaly1300200218
5FilsFrance953200444
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
7StrickerSwitzerland576200290
8MichelsenUSA4922004117
9MedjedovicSerbia4852003121
10CazauxFrance4552002130
11CobolliItaly4052002132
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.

BEST RANKING

Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

PlayerPositionCountryProgress
Shelton19USA28
Jarry22Chile3
Baez28Argentina4
Fils44France4
Arnaldi47Italy14
Altmaier49Germany4
O’Connell53Australia16
Seyboth Wild76Brazil30
Gojo77Croatia28
Watanuki78Japan7
Mmoh81USA8
Hijkata83Australia27
Stricker90Switzerland38

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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