Djokovic: ‘Surreal’ to break Graf record as No. 1

Novak Djokovic is atop the men’s tennis rankings for the 378th week, breaking Steffi Graf’s record for most weeks as world No. 1.

“It’s surreal to be that many weeks No. 1, to match Graf — one of the all-time greats,” Djokovic said Sunday. “Just being amongst these legendary names is flattering. I’m proud of it.”

Djokovic has 6,980 points in the ATP rankings, 200 ahead of second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz. The 22-time Grand Slam champion returned to the top spot last month after winning the Australian Open.

Graf, also a 22-time major champion, was No. 1 in the women’s rankings for 377 weeks before retiring in 1999.

Martina Navratilova spent the third-most weeks atop the world rankings at 332, followed by Serena Williams (319) and Roger Federer (310).

Djokovic, who is recovering from a hamstring injury suffered last month in Australia, said he is pain-free as he prepares for this week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

“Had a couple of weeks of no tennis,” he said. “The last few days, it’s really getting as much practice as possible to get myself back in shape to be able to compete at a high level. I haven’t felt pain on the court for a week.

“I’m getting closer to 100 percent. Still not there in terms of the game and how I feel on court, but the important thing is there’s no pain. I don’t have a hindrance in the way I move on the court.”

Djokovic, 35, will face Czech qualifier Tomas Machac in the first round Tuesday.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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