Novak Djokovic says breaking Steffi Graf’s record of 377 weeks at 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 a 10th Australian Open crown and record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title last month. “I still want more achievements,” Djokovic told reporters in Dubai 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, 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.”
Undefeated in all 12 matches he has contested so far this season, Djokovic says he has been pain-free for the past week, having recovered from a muscle tear in his left hamstring he had sustained in Australia.
“I’m getting closer to a hundred percent. Still not there in terms of the game itself, or 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,” declared the 35-year-old.
Djokovic will begin his Dubai campaign against Czech qualifier Tomas Machac on Tuesday, where the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Andy Murray are also expected to take the court.
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