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Djokovic Becomes 25th Player In History To Rise To No. 1

London, England

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic rose to No. 1 one day after winning the Wimbledon title.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, who has won 48 of his 49 matches in 2011, took over the No. 1 position in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on Monday, replacing Rafael Nadal, who had held the top spot since June 7, 2010.

Djokovic was guaranteed to move to No. 1 as a result of his semi-final win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Wimbledon on Friday. Nadal had been No. 1 for the past 56 weeks since June 7, 2010, and 102 weeks overall. Djokovic, who had ranked No. 2 behind Nadal since March 21, is the first Serbian male to rank No. 1 in the history of South African Airways ATP Rankings (since Aug. 23, 1973).

The last player to rank No. 1 before Nadal and Roger Federer was American Andy Roddick, the week of January 26, 2004.

“This is an amazing achievement to get to the top spot, especially with rivals such as Rafa and Roger,” said Djokovic. “They made me work so hard and made me improve every day. There are no words to express how good they are but I always thought that I could become No. 1 one day. Both the belief and the hard work took me there.”

At 24 years, 1 month, 12 days, the Belgrade native is the 25th player in the history of the South African Airways ATP Rankings (since 1973) to hold the No. 1 position in the official rankings in men's tennis. He is the 14th European player to rank No. 1.

Djokovic leads the ATP World Tour with a career-best eight titles in 2011, including his second Australian Open crown in January and his first Wimbledon trophy on Sunday. He also captured four ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Rome). His overall 43-match winning run, dating back to last year’s Davis Cup final, is the third-longest streak in the Open Era, behind Guillermo Vilas (46) and Ivan Lendl (44).

ATP Executive Chairman & President Adam Helfant said: “Novak’s results over the past year have been remarkable. His 43-match winning streak is one of sport’s greatest stories of the year, not to mention his triumphs at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and six ATP World Tour events. His phenomenal success has come during an incredibly competitive era in men’s tennis and he is a truly deserving new ATP World Tour No.1.”

In May, Djokovic became the first player to qualify for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. It is the fifth straight year that he has qualified for the elite eight-player tournament.

Following is a list of the 25 players who have ranked No. 1 in the history of the South African Airways ATP Rankings (since 1973):

Player (Country)                      Reached No. 1        Age                                    Total Weeks

Novak Djokovic (SRB)             July 4, 2011               24 years, 1 months            1

Rafael Nadal (ESP)                  Aug. 18, 2008           22 years, 2 months            102

Roger Federer (SUI)                 Feb. 2, 2004             22 years, 5 months            285

Andy Roddick (USA)                Nov. 3, 2003              21 years, 2 months            13

Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)      Sept. 8, 2003           23 years, 6 months             8

Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)                Nov. 19, 2001            20 years, 8 months            80

Gustavo Kuerten (BRA)            Dec. 4, 2000             24 years, 2 months            43

Marat Safin (RUS)                    Nov. 20, 2000            20 years, 9 months            9

Patrick Rafter (AUS)                July 26, 1999             26 years, 8 months            1

Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS)      May 3, 1999               25 years, 2 months            6

Carlos Moya (ESP)                  Mar. 15, 1999           22 years, 6 months             2

Marcelo Rios (CHI)                   Mar. 30, 1998           22 years, 3 months             6

Thomas Muster (AUT)              Feb. 12, 1996           28 years, 4 months             6

Andre Agassi (USA)                 Apr. 10, 1995           24 years, 11 months           101

Pete Sampras (USA)               Apr. 12, 1993            21 years, 8 months             286

Jim Courier (USA)                    Feb. 10, 1992            21 years, 5 months             58

Boris Becker (GER)                  Jan. 28, 1991            23 years, 5 months             12

Stefan Edberg (SWE)              Aug. 13, 1990           24 years, 9 months             72

Mats Wilander (SWE)              Sept. 12, 1988          24 years, 1 month               20

Ivan Lendl (CZE)                       Feb. 28, 1983            22 years, 11 months          270

John McEnroe (USA)               Mar. 3, 1980               21 years, 15 days              170

Bjorn Borg (SWE)                     Aug. 23, 1977            21 years, 2 months            109

Jimmy Connors (USA)             July 29, 1974              21 years, 11 months          268

John Newcombe (AUS)            June 3, 1974             30 years, 11 days               8

Ilie Nastase (ROM)                   Aug. 23, 1973            27 years, 1 month              40

Djokovic is the 25th player to hold No. 1 in the history of the South African Airways ATP Rankings (since 1973) and he is the first male player from Serbia to hold the top position. Following is a breakdown of the 13 countries at No. 1:

Country                      #          Player

United States              6          (Connors, McEnroe, Courier, Sampras, Agassi, Roddick)

Australia                      3          (Newcombe, Rafter, Hewitt)

Spain                           3          (Moya, Ferrero, Nadal)

Sweden                       3          (Borg, Wilander, Edberg)

Russia                         2          (Kafelnikov, Safin)

Austria                         1          (Muster)

Brazil                           1          (Kuerten)

Chile                            1          (Rios)

Czech Republic          1          (Lendl)

Germany                     1          (Becker)

Romania                     1          (Nastase)

Serbia                          1          (Djokovic)

Switzerland                 1          (Federer)


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