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Novak Djokovic says ‘surreal’ to break Steffi Graf’s world ranking record Sport-rated




Novak Djokovic says breaking Steffi Graf’s record of 377 weeks as number one in the rankings on Monday is “surreal” and that he is proud to surpass one of the sport’s all-time greats. The Serb will spend his 378th week at the top of men’s tennis competing in Dubai, where he will play his first tournament since capturing his 10th Australian Open crown and record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title last month. “I still want more achievements,” Djokovic told reporters in Dubai on Sunday. “I’m motivated by goals. I’m just as dedicated to the sport as anyone else.”

“Of course, it’s surreal in a way to be the world number one for many weeks, to match Steffi Graf, who is one of the all-time greats of our sport, both men and women. Just to be among these names legendaries is flattering. I’m very proud of it.”

Unbeaten in 12 matches so far this season, Djokovic says he has been pain-free over the past week as he recovered from a torn left hamstring suffered in Australia.

“I’m getting close to 100 percent. I’m not there yet in terms of the game itself, how I feel on the court. But the important thing is that there’s no pain. I don’t have a hindrance in the way I do it.” move on the pitch,” said the 35-year-old.

Djokovic will kick off his campaign in Dubai against Czech qualifier Tomas Machac on Tuesday, where the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Andy Murray are also expected to take to the pitch.

Murray, who is a week older than Djokovic and has been the Serb’s opponent since his early teens, is coming off an impressive week in Doha, where he battled through four three-setters before losing to Medvedev in the final.

It has been a theme for the former British world number one, who also put in heroic displays at the Australian Open last month.

“What’s happening now this year with his match points saved literally every game he plays, the number of hours he’s spent on the pitch since the start of the year, particularly in Australia, is something you have to admire and say ‘capeau’ because of everything he’s been through with his hip,” Djokovic said of Murray.

– ‘Big guy Murray’ –

“You have to keep in mind that he has an artificial hip and he moves the way he does. He’s constantly looking to improve and get back to the top level, which it looks like he’s been doing. He’s just moving up the ranks. The level is getting better and better. .

“I’m very happy for him because he’s a great guy, he respects the sport, he works very, very hard. Very committed, he deserves his success.”

Djokovic has also been paying attention to the recent exploits of Chinese players on the ATP tour.

There are two Chinese men ranked in the top 100: Wu Yibing and Zhang Zhizhen, with teenager Shang Juncheng not far behind.

Djokovic said he always knew it was only a matter of time before China’s men moved up the rankings in the same way that Chinese women have on the WTA tour.

“I’m happy for tennis in China. It’s important. It’s important that a country like China also do well in men’s tennis. I think for us globally, as part of the tennis ecosystem, it’s great news.” added.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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