World no. 2 Novak Djokovic has made a perfect start at the ATP Finals in London on Sunday, beating Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour. Battling with Rafael Nadal for the year-end no. 1 spot, Novak will try to claim the sixth ATP Finals crown and finish the season at the top for the sixth time and add more fuel to his GOAT race against Federer and Nadal.
In the previous week, Novak celebrated the 700th week in the top-50, becoming the seventh active player with that achievement after Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet.
The Serb needed some time to take the next step and crack the top-50, finding himself in that group after reaching the quarter-final at Roland Garros and never leaving again to secure this massive milestone 13 years later.
Carried by this momentum, the talented youngster claimed two ATP titles in Amersfoort and Metz by the end of the season to finish just outside top-15 at the age of 19. Of course, Novak’s place in the elite 50 has never been in doubt after that, becoming world no.3 in August 2007 and establishing himself as the closest rival of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Improving his fitness, Novak became the player to beat from 2011, earning many notable records that will take some beating in the future and standing as the most consistent player in the previous decade to follow the numbers of Federer and Nadal with incredible persistence.
The winner of 16 Major titles and 34 Masters 1000 crowns will almost certainly stay in the top-50 for many more years, eager to chase all the records as long as he remains healthy and happy on the court, which is undoubtedly the case at the moment.
If he produces another consistent season in 2020, the Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco should become the third active player with 800 weeks in the top-50 before Novak who will join the list at the end of 2021, seeking more notable achievements in the quest for becoming the best player of all time in front of Federer and Nadal.