The Serbian star was locked in a three-way battle with Carlos Alcaraz, his closest rival for that distinction for over a year, and Daniil Medvedev. Even with an enormous points cushion over his two rivals, he needed to win the Australian Open to be absolutely certain of retaining the top spot at the end of the fortnight.
That is because Djokovic was defending the full 2,000 ranking points as defendign champion. Alcaraz, meanwhile, had zero points to defend after missing last year's tournament. For his part, Medvedev was defending third-round points after his shock early exit in 2023.
But Djokovic's situation has been aided mightily following Carlos Alcaraz's surprise defeat to Alexander Zverev in the last of the men's quarterfinals on Wednesday night. The Spaniard needed to better Djokovic's result at the Australian Open to reclaim the No. 1 ranking.
Medvedev's task was a little more complicated as he needed both Djokovic and Alcaraz to lose before the semifinal stage and for him to win the whole thing. While the latter is possible, Djokovic has advanced into a 48th Grand Slam semifinal, all but ending the Russian's slim hopes of becoming No. 1 again.
Djokovic celebrated a 409th week as World No. 1 this week, which is at least 200 more weeks than longtime rival Rafael Nadal, who is the closest to him among the active players. Djokovic can now look forward to clocking another week at the end of the Australian Open, taking his tally to 410.
That has some significance, too, because he will have compiled 100 more weeks than the next ATP player on the list. That is retired legend Roger Federer, who was ranked No. 1 for 310 weeks on the ATP Tour.