Novak Djokovic becomes ninth man to spend 100 weeks at No. 1

Novak Djokovic remains the world No. 1 but he lost the U.S. Open final to Rafael Nadal, right, this month.

Story highlights

  • Novak Djokovic becomes the ninth man to spend at least 100 weeks at No. 1
  • Djokovic achieved the top ranking in July 2011 and has been mostly No. 1 ever since
  • But Djokovic is now in danger of losing the No. 1 ranking to a surging Rafael Nadal
  • Djokovic and Nadal are competing at next week's China Open in Beijing

Novak Djokovic admitted that this year could have been better for him at the grand slams. He won the Australian Open but lost two finals and had clay-court king Rafael Nadal on the ropes at the French Open.

Djokovic, though, had reason to celebrate Monday as he became just the ninth man to spend at least 100 weeks at No. 1 on the tennis tour.

Djokovic achieved the top ranking in July 2011, taking over from Nadal, and has mostly held down the No. 1 position ever since.

When he caught Nadal two years ago, it marked the first time since 2004 that the Spaniard or Roger Federer wasn't at the summit.

"I was taught to dream big and to dream to be No. 1 in the world," Djokovic told the ATP website. "It takes years of hard work and dedication.

"It is a long process to become a champion. Tennis is a very specific and unique sport, where you take all the credit or all the blame."

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Djokovic's major breakthrough came in 2011, when he claimed three of the four majors and started the campaign with 41 consecutive victories.

Although he only landed one grand slam title in both 2012 and 2013, Djokovic appeared in a 14th straight grand slam semifinal in New York this month, moving him more than halfway past Federer's impressive record of 23.

Read: Nadal gets closer to Federer's 17

Nadal, however, is almost certain to reclaim No. 1 this fall since he trails Djokovic by less than 300 points and has no points to defend until 2014.

Indeed if Nadal reaches the final of next week's China Open -- where Djokovic is the top seed -- he's guaranteed to leapfrog the Serb.

"There are still a lot of tournaments to come," said Djokovic. "Calculations are not on my mind right now. I am trying to feed on the confidence that I have."

Federer holds the men's record for weeks at No. 1 at 302.

Federer is scheduled to return to action at October's Shanghai Masters while the other member of the 'Big Four,' Andy Murray, is set to miss the rest of 2013 with a back injury.