Novak Thrilled To Reach ‘Big Milestone’ Of 1,000 Matches
Novak Djokovic passed another milestone in his illustrious career on Saturday, defeating World No. 5 Alexander Zverev in his 1,000th tour-level match to advance to the Rolex Shanghai Masters final.
“Big milestone, 1,000 matches,” Djokovic told his fans in a video on his Instagram. “Thank you guys very much for being there with me. Obviously it’s a great milestone. I’m very proud of it. It almost looks unreal, really, to play 1,000 matches throughout my professional career. I’m very grateful. I’m blessed to play the sport that I really love. I have a great team around me. I owe a great gratitude to my family, all the people that were close to me throughout my entire career and supported me on the way to achieve this great milestone.”
Only 12 players have completed 1,000 tour-level matches on record in the Open Era according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone. And compared to his two greatest rivals — Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer — Djokovic has won a higher rate of matches than when those stars eclipsed the 1,000-match mark. The Serbian’s 827-173 record (82.7 per cent) barely squeaks by Nadal (822-178) and Federer (814-186).
Number Of Wins Through 1,000 Tour-Level Matches
It’s certainly not Djokovic’s first milestone. On 4 July 2011, the Serbian climbed to the top of the ATP Rankings for the first time. Earlier this year, Djokovic completed the Career Golden Masters, triumphing in Cincinnati to earn the only ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title he was missing. But that doesn’t mean this achievement loses significance for the 31-year-old, who dreamt of such moments long before playing his first match.
“I wouldn’t be so dedicated to this sport if I didn’t believe that I can achieve great heights. But you always have to kind of pinch yourself, particularly at this stage of my career, and be grateful, because at the end of the day, I did have an awesome career so far that has blessed me with a lot of great achievements,” Djokovic told the media after beating Zverev. “I always try to remind myself, and I have a lot of people around me that are very close to me in my life that also try to remind me, that I have to appreciate every milestone, every success, every win. Also losses, because you learn more from losses. It’s quite a journey and quite a trajectory I’ve had in my career.”
But more than anything, Djokovic is happy to be in another Masters 1000 final. The No. 2 seed will have a chance to lift his 32nd trophy at the elite level on Sunday when he faces Borna Coric in Shanghai after defeating Zverev with the loss of just three games.
“It was a great way to celebrate the milestone. It was a lot of numbers, symbolic 1000th match, one hour exactly of play today,” Djokovic said. “When it comes to the match, I thought I did everything I intended to do very well.”