Novak Djokovic said that it would be “amazing” to equal childhood idol Pete Sampras’ all-time record of ending the year as world No. 1 on six occasions.
Djokovic can ensure that he matches the great US player by winning two matches at this week’s Vienna Open.
The 33-year-old Serb has been the top-ranked player at the end of a season five times: in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018.
He shares that mark with career rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Sampras achieved the feat six years in succession between 1993 and 1998.
“Sampras was my childhood idol growing up and it will be amazing to tie his record by being the year-end world No. 1 six times,” Djokovic told a news conference on Sunday.
Djokovic has another target — beating Federer’s all-time best of 310 weeks spent on top of the rankings.
On Monday, Djokovic begins his 292nd week as world No. 1.
If he stays in pole position, he would pass Federer in early March next year, although he admits that in the current climate, everything in the sport remains “unpredictable.”
“It’s my great goal to achieve that and it’s something I am working toward,” Djokovic said. “I hope it happens in March, but let’s see. So many unpredictable things can happen and things change week by week.”
Djokovic is playing in Vienna for the first time since he won the title there in 2007.
Yesterday, he opened against compatriot Serb Filip Krajinovic, with a second-round clash against either Borna Coric of Croatia or the US’ Taylor Fritz.
It is the 17-time Grand Slam title winner’s first tournament since his straight-set loss to Nadal at the Paris Open final two weeks ago.
However, his path to a fifth title this season is likely to run into defending Vienna champion and home star Dominic Thiem in the final.
NADAL GOLF FORAY
Two weeks after his 13th French Open title, Rafael Nadal on Monday proved his prowess in another sporting arena when he finished tied for sixth in the Balearic Golf Championship.
The 34-year-old, who boasts a handicap of 0.3, came in 10 shots behind the winner after the three day tournament in Llucmajor on his native Mallorca, sports newspaper Marca reported.
The world No. 2 in his chosen sport of tennis followed up 74s in the opening two rounds with a 77 on Monday in the combined Pro-Am event won by Sebastian Garcia.
Nadal swops clubs for rackets when he returns to the court for the Paris Masters in the Parisian neighborhood of Bercy on Monday next week.
An influx of soccer players to India from Australia has highlighted changing fortunes as the Indian Super League (ISL) flourishes and the A-League hits lean times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just two Australians played in the Indian Super League last year, but 10 were among the 11 teams when the competition got under way in a bio-secure “bubble” in Goa last week. Non-Australian A-League players have also made the move, including English striker Adam Le Fondre — last season’s second-highest goal-scorer with Sydney FC — along with German defender Matti Steinman and Aaron Holloway of Wales. Much of the change is down to
‘YOU’RE CHAMPIONS’: Pope Francis told the NBA delegation that they had become models of teamwork, while remaining humble and preserving their own humanity Pope Francis on Monday met with NBA players at the Vatican, lauding them as “champions” and saying he supported their work on social justice. The five players — Marco Belinelli, Sterling Brown, Jonathan Isaac, Kyle Korver and Anthony Tolliver — were joined in the delegation by National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts and two other union executives, Sherrie Deans and Matteo Zuretti. “We’re here because, frankly, we’re inspired by the work that you do globally,” Roberts told the pope during the meeting in the Vatican Apostolic Library. The union said that the players spoke about their “individual and collective efforts addressing
‘ONE LAST APPLAUSE’: An homage of cheers resounded through Buenos Aires on Wednesday night, while earlier a contingent met at the Obelisk to remember their hero Stunned Argentines were on Wednesday plunged into grief by the death of the country’s favorite son Diego Maradona, a sublimely gifted sporting hero they saw as “the most human of gods.” The news fell like a hammer blow to a nation beaten down by months of economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, but one where soccer is seen as a panacea for all ills. At 10pm, Buenos Aires exploded in cheers, horns, sirens and lights for the man who famously wore the No. 10, after a viral social media message called for “one last applause.” The homage resounded throughout the night in all
Taiwan Steel on Sunday defeated Hang Yuan 3-1 to clinch the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) title with a match to spare after Taipower were held to a 1-1 draw by National University of Sport. The victory saw Tainan achieve the rare achievement of being “double champions” after the Uni-President Lions baseball team won the CPBL championship earlier this month against the CTBC Brothers. Turks and Caicos striker Marc Fenelus powered a header into the top corner to give the league leaders an early lead over Hang Yuan in New Taipei City. Just before the hour mark, Hang Yuan defender Hsu Yi fouled