Novak Djokovic sets Roger Federer record deadline but explains Rafael Nadal problem

Novak Djokovic is starting his 292nd week as the men’s world No 1 and he is quickly closing in on Roger Federer’s record. The Serbian has a clear advantage at the top of the standings but he feels Rafael Nadal will be a tough obstacle along the way.

Federer, 39, has spent a total of 310 weeks at the top of the standings.

For Djokovic to surpass the Swiss star, who is ruled out until the end of the season, he must fight off the challengers until March.

“It’s my great goal to achieve that and it’s something I am working towards,” the Serbian said.

“I hope it happens in March, but let’s see. So many unpredictable things can happen and things change week by week.”

Djokovic is clearly focussed on the task at hand and knows exactly when he may be able to celebrate.

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“I can break the record on March 8,” the Serbian added. “If I can, I will dedicate it to my wife and mother.”

But Djokovic must rediscover his best form if he is to remain as the world No 1.

The Serbian has not won either of the last two Grand Slam titles as Dominic Thiem came out on top in America while Nadal dominated in Paris.

Next up is the Australian Open, where Federer is expected to return.

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But Djokovic fears Thiem and Nadal may stop him defending his crown in Melbourne.

“I’m still not sure I can do it because it depends on both Nadal and Thiem and how things will go from today until the end of the year, as well as at the next Australian Open, but I’m in a great position,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic is in action at the Vienna Open this week alongside a host of other top 10 stars.

“The field is extremely strong,” Djokovic explained.” The quality of matches from the first round will be very, very high.

“You have six out of the top 10 players playing here at an ATP 500 event.

“I think this must be if not the hardest or toughest men’s draw of all-time at a 500-category event, then definitely one of the hardest ones that we have ever seen, that I was ever part of.

“It’s great to be here. I have some amazing memories from this city. I haven’t been to Vienna and I haven’t participated in the tournament here for 13 years.

“The last time I was here I won the tournament and I had great support. This is definitely one of the best tournaments in this category.”

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