Novak Djokovic defeated fellow countryman Krajinovic 7-6,6-3 to move closer to Pete Sampras’ record of ending the year as World number 1 six times.
The current world number was playing his first competitive game after the Rolland Garros loss at the hands of Rafael Nadal. Djokovic had also missed the Paris Masters in order to focus on the Vienna Open and the year-ending ATP finals.
For Novak, the next few months promise to be extremely exhausting and yet very fulfilling as the Serbian great is within a touching distance of two era-defining records.
Federer’s records, Pete’s legacy, and Djokovic’s juggernaut-
Novak Djokovic has ended the year as world number one on five previous occasions: in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2018, a feat he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who too have needed the year at summit five times each.
However, ahead of the big three is the great Pete Sampras who achieved the same honor a record six times-each year from 1993 to 1998.
That is what Djoker is aiming for and that is where he will get if he can somehow sneak a win against Borna Coric. He will then equal the achievement of his childhood idol Pete Sampras.
#Djokovic: I want to end the year as number one and I want to have as big advantage as possible for the first three months of 2021, which would allow me the historic number one, one of the two biggest goals in my career.
— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) October 22, 2020
With two wins this week, #DJokovic can secure season ending no 1 for the record-tying 6th time, he could equal his childhood hero Pete Sampras.
Arguably the strongest 500 field ever, my Vienna preview 👇 https://t.co/1cN9SNxOiD
— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) October 25, 2020
The opening fixture of the Vienna Masters, however, wasn’t the easiest of games for world number 1 and the result could well have been something different had Krajinovic not squandered a set point in the tiebreaker. However, the second set was where Djokovic finally showed his class to make light work of his fellow compatriot.
“The first set, I think he was the better player. He was serving for the first set and I was lucky. He missed a smash at 6/6 in the tie-break,” said Djokovic.
“A few points here and there can change the momentum of the match. In the second set, I stepped it up, I played better and I am just pleased with the way I finished the match.”
Also within reach of Novak is Roger Federer’s record of spending most weeks as world number 1.Djokovic, who began his 292nd week atop the ATP rankings is just 18 shy of Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks as world number 1.
Whatever transpires in the coming weeks is surely going to have a lot of impact, not just on Novak’s individual legacy but would also determine who ends up as the most decorated player from this golden but soon to be ending generation of men’s tennis.