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Djokovic Closing In On Federer’s Big Titles Record

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World No. 1 Novak Djokovic made history on Sunday when he won the Mutua Madrid Open, tying Rafael Nadal’s record of 33 ATP Masters 1000 titles. This is the first time Djokovic and Nadal have been tied atop the Masters 1000 trophy leaderboard since Monte-Carlo last year, when Nadal earned his 31st title at this level to move one ahead of Djokovic.

At this week’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, where Djokovic is a four-time champion, he will have an opportunity to stand alone by claiming a record 34th Masters 1000 trophy. The last time Djokovic solely held the record was from 2016 Madrid through 2017 Madrid, where Nadal evened up the Masters 1000 title standings again.

Djokovic, who now owns 53 Big Titles — a combination of Grand Slam, Nitto ATP Finals and Masters 1000 crowns — could also match Federer’s record of 54 in Rome. That would be the first time that either the World No. 1 or Nadal have tied the Swiss star’s Big Titles mark.

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The Serbian accomplished even more with his triumph in the Spanish capital, though. Djokovic strengthened his record for rate of Big Titles won. The 31-year-old on average has emerged victorious at a rate of 3.3 events played per Big Title, leading Nadal (3.5) and Federer (4.2).

“I know how to do that strategically with my team, how to raise the intensity of training and so I could actually be at my best for Slams. But, at the same time, I don’t like to underestimate or undermine these [Masters] 1000 event tournaments. They are the biggest tournaments we have in our ATP Tour,” Djokovic said. “In contrary, I want to peak at these as well.

“I really like to be in the moment and give my best whatever tournament that I’m playing on, whatever match I have to face.”

Djokovic has used his recent Big Title winning spree — he has claimed six of the past 12 — to earn and solidify his spot atop the ATP Rankings. This week, Djokovic leads World No. 2 Nadal by 4,170 points. And with Nadal defending 3,000 points at Rome and Roland Garros compared to Djokovic’s 720 points, the 31-year-old will have a chance to firm up his advantage even more as he tries to tie Pete Sampras’ record by finishing year-end World No. 1 for the sixth time.

Did You Know?
Djokovic has now won at least two Big Titles in eight of the past nine seasons. The Serbian won a record 10 Big Titles in 2015; no other player has claimed more than eight in a year.

Current and Former Champions’ Big Titles Won (Records Since 1990)

* Becker’s four other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
** Edberg’s three other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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