Djokovic says return to top spot more special after tough year

March 1, 2023 4:35 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Novak Djokovic said his return to the top of the world rankings felt like a big achievement after a year of turmoil where he had to skip several tournaments including two Grand Slams, but the Serbian expects a see-sawing battle for the position in 2023.

Djokovic missed the 2022 Australian Open and was deported from the country due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19 before returning this year to clinch a record-extending 10th title at Melbourne Park and 22nd major to reclaim the number one spot.

He was forced out of big tournaments in the United States last year, including the U.S. Open, as he was unable to enter the country due to his refusal to take his shots.

Article continues after advertisement

The 35-year-old also received no points for winning the Wimbledon title due to the grasscourt Grand Slam being penalised for its decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Djokovic is now into his 378th week as the world number one, surpassing Steffi Graf’s record for the most weeks at the top of the sport.

But he said younger players like Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas will eventually catch up with him.