Djokovic Begins 428th And Potentially Last Week At No. 1

Djokovic Begins 428th And Potentially Last Week At No. 1

by Nurein Ahmed

Novak Djokovic's record-setting run at the top of the world rankings will extend for a 428th week, but could this be his last?

That's the million-dollar question at the 2024 Roland Garros. The clay-court Grand Slam has reached the second week with Djokovic firmly in it. The top seed will face Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo in the fourth round on Monday.

Djokovic's progress into this stage of the competition was hardly a mean task after battling through the second-longest match of this year's French Open so far in the third round. He defeated Lorenzo Musetti in a four-and-a-half-hour epic that finished at 3 a.m. local time.

The match set the record for the latest finish at Roland Garros, beating the previous record by at least 90 minutes. At one stage, it looked like Djokovic's reign as World No. 1 would come to an end, falling two sets to one down to the inspired Musetti.

The one-hander from Carrara, Italy, spoke before the match about the extra incentive in helping Jannik Sinner's bid to become No. 1. Djokovic is not guaranteed to remain in that position when the fresh rankings are updated at the start of next week.

To keep his hopes alive, he must reach the final at the very least (even that may not suffice). Sinner will play Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinal. If he loses that match, then a runner-up finish by Djokovic would be enough to retain the No. 1 ranking.

If Sinner reached the final, he would become the new World No. 1 regardless of what Djokovic does. But even if he unseats the Serb from the top spot, Djokovic will not lose sleep over it.

In an earlier interview at the start of the clay-court swing, the 37-year-old admitted that the rankings are not his goal for the 2024 season and that he expects the 22-year-old Sinner to dethrone him at some point.


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