After Record Start, Could Djokovic Challenge Federer’s Single-Season Top 10 Wins Mark?

  • Posted: Mar 04, 2020

After Record Start, Could Djokovic Challenge Federer’s Single-Season Top 10 Wins Mark?

Serbian star off to 7-0 start versus Top 10 in 2020

Two months into the 2020 season and Novak Djokovic is off to an 18-0 start, which includes a record 7-0 over players in the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings heading into the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the year at the BNP Paribas Open. The Serbian previously had a record five Top 10 wins in 2016 before the start of Indian Wells.

It may be mission impossible, considering he’ll likely face Rafael Nadal at some point on the European clay swing, but could the World No. 1 match Roger Federer’s record run in 2004, when the Swiss went 18-0 against Top 10 rivals on the season?

So far this year, Djokovic has beaten Top 10 talent in Gael Monfils, Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal en route to helping Serbia win the inaugural ATP Cup title; Federer and Dominic Thiem for a record eighth Australian Open crown, and Monfils and Stefanos Tsitsipas for his fifth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships trophy last week.

“I’m trying to embrace the moment and appreciate where I am,” admitted Djokovic in Dubai. “I think this has been one of the best starts of all seasons I had in my career. I feel great on the court. I’ve been playing great tennis on the hard court that is my most successful and preferred surface.

“I’m just grateful that I’m playing well, feeling well. I’ve won many matches now in a row. I’ll try to keep that run going. It’s just way too early to speak about how long that run might go, the calculations. I try not to think about predictions.”

While Djokovic’s longest Top 10 winning streak was 17 between 2015 and 2016, Federer posted 24 straight Top 10 wins from 2003 to 2005, which is the longest on record (since 1980).

Nadal, who lifted ATP Tour silverware for the 17th consecutive season at last week’s Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (d. Fritz), has two 13-match winning streaks against Top 10 opponents in 2012 and 2013, then also later in the 2013 season. The Spaniard went 26-1 against elite players during these two streaks, with the run breaking in half with a loss to Djokovic in the 2013 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final.

Prior to 2000, John McEnroe, who first became No. 1 on 3 March 1980, had the longest single-season Top 10 winning streak of 16 victories in 1984, when he went a sparkling 82-3 for the best match winning streak (96.5) in ATP Tour history.

In addition to chasing the Top 10 streak, Djokovic is laser-focused on his quest to break Federer’s record 310 weeks at No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The Serbian, who has spent 280 weeks in the top spot, is currently only six weeks behind second-placed Pete Sampras (286 weeks) for most weeks at the summit of men’s professional tennis.

With only 45 points to defend at the upcoming Indian Wells tournament, Djokovic will be aiming to extend his 320 points lead over Nadal (9,850). Should Nadal clinch the BNP Paribas Open crown, Djokovic (10,220) must reach at least the semi-finals to maintain his hold on No. 1.

Watch Live

Source link