The Volley Podcast #16: The record-breaking Novak Djokovic

Chris Oddo and Simon Cambers discuss the enormity of Novak Djokovic’s achievement in ending the year as No 1 for a seventh time and whether it puts him ahead of his rivals in the GOAT debate

November 8, 2021

On Saturday, November 6, 2021, by winning his semi-final at the Rolex Paris Masters against Hubert Hurkacz, Novak Djokovic once again made tennis history. The Serb ensured that he will finish the season as world No 1 for the seventh time in his career. He surpassed the record he held with Pete Sampras (6) and moved a little further away from his two great rivals, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer (5).


A record year for Novak Djokovic who, in March 2021, became the man who has spent the most time at the top of the world rankings, beating Roger Federer’s 310 weeks. By winning Wimbledon, he also won his 20th Grand Slam title, matching the record held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

In the latest episode of The Volley, Chris Oddo and guest Simon Cambers discuss Novak Djokovic’s incredible achievement in finishing the year as the world’s No 1 player for the seventh time in his career, just after his victory at the Rolex Paris Masters.


Key moments of our podcast:

  • Simon talks about Djokovic’s Rolex Paris Masters final win over Medvedev, and discusses the Serb’s good tactics in going to the net 26 times (around 2.10)
  • A rivalry is starting to develop between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. Simon believes that the two are very similar in their game-styles. (around 4.05)
  • Medvedev is the leader of the new generation and was the only one who could prevent Djokovic from finishing the year as world No 1 (around 5.38)
  • Seeing Djokovic win the Rolex Paris Masters after a few weeks of rest and after his loss in the US Open final is not a surprise. He has always bounced back from set-backs. (around 6.42)
  • Novak Djokovic’s mental strength and consistency at the highest level is incredible. He sets very high goals for himself and when he reaches them, he doesn’t stop there. He always wants more. (around 8.20)
Novak Djokovic clinches world No 1 record
Novak Djokovic, Rolex Paris Masters 2021 – © Panoramic
  • Such longevity at the highest level is exceptional. He became world No 1 for the first time in 2011, and 10 years later he is still there. (around 10.18)
  • The trigger for him was when he won the Davis Cup in 2010. (around 12.20)
  • Finishing the year as world No 1 for the seventh time in his career will count in the GOAT race (around 13.55)
  • Staying at No 1 and finishing the year in that position is much more difficult than becoming No 1. (around 15.30)
  • Only 10 players have managed to finish the year as world No 1 more than once in history. This shows how exceptional Djokovic’s achievement is (around 17.30)
  • His chances of making it to No 8 are good, even if the threat of the new generation is more intense now (around 19.40)
  • If Djokovic is as motivated as ever, he remains the boss on the circuit, especially in the best of five sets, even at 34 years old (around 22.00)
  • The only major record he lacks is the number of ATP titles held by Jimmy Connors with 109. Djokovic has 86. (around 23.26)
  • If Nadal has finished as the world’s No 1 player fewer times than Djokovic, the physical aspect is largely responsible. For Federer, it’s the fact that in latter years, he’s not played as many tournaments during the year. (25.27)
  • Djokovic said he considers Medvedev his biggest rival right now, on hard court there is no doubt but on clay, it’s still Nadal (26.55)
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