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1000 Club: Novak Djokovic and the four other men to achieve remarkable feat

Novak Djokovic celebrates 1000 wins

Novak Djokovic has joined an elite group of men after winning his 1000th match on his way to winning the Rome Masters last week.

It is a feat achieved by just five men in ATP history, meaning plenty of greats have failed to reach the milestone.

The list of players is almost better defined by the names that are not on it than those who are. There are some names of genuine greats who are not even close.

For further perspective, the closest active player to joining this particular club, Andy Murray, is still nearly 300 wins away from doing it.

So, which players have managed to achieve 1000 wins, what are the stats within that remarkable figure, and how does Djokovic compare to them?

Novak Djokovic

Wins: 1001*

Win percentage: 83.15%

Titles won: 87

Majors: 20

Even with Rafael Nadal edging ahead of him in the Grand Slam race, there is still a strong case to be made for Novak Djokovic being statistically the best player of all time.

Djokovic has won more Masters than anyone else, been year-end world number one more times than anyone else, and spent more weeks on top of the rankings than any other man.

At the time of writing, only Nadal has a greater win percentage than Djokovic too, but there is very little between them.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal 1000 wins

Wins: 1049*

Win percentage: 83.25%

Titles won: 91

Majors: 21

Rafael Nadal is just ahead of Novak Djokovic in terms of matches won, although you would expect that given he turned pro two years earlier than the Serbian.

Nadal’s own collection of achievements, whilst statistically perhaps not as impressive as Djokovic’s, are just as remarkable. His 13 titles at the same major, Roland Garros, is a number unlikely to ever be matched, and his 17 years – and counting – inside the world’s top ten is frankly mindboggling.

The Spaniard will again be the favourite at Roland Garros this year, although it remains to be seen how much a degenerative foot injury will dull his powers at this point in his career.

Ivan Lendl

Ivan Lendl in action

Wins: 1069

Win percentage: 81.54%

Titles won: 94

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Majors: 8

We have been spoiled so much in the Big Three era that it can be very easy to overlook the greatness of players from the past when debating who the greatest of all time is.

There is no question that Ivan Lendl should absolutely be involved in that discussion, though.

Lendl won more matches in 17 active seasons than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have managed in 21 and 19 seasons respectively. On the one hand, you could say that Lendl benefited from less competition than exists today. However, on the other hand Lendl wasn’t able to benefit from modern graphite rackets, string technology and sports science.

Whichever way you want to look at it, though, Lendl was absolutely remarkable.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer celebrates 1000 wins in 2015

Wins: 1245*

Win percentage: 81.91%

Titles won: 103

Majors: 20

There is an asterisk next to Roger Federer’s name to denote that he is an active player, but the truth is that he hasn’t been for more than two years now. During that time, he has battled a persistent knee surgery and had one failed comeback bid, and at the age of 40 I don’t think anyone will be expecting great things from the Swiss ace again.

The list of great things he has achieved is already long enough, though. Only one man has won more matches and more titles, and his win percentage lags behind Nadal, Djokovic, and Bjorn Borg only.

Whilst Federer was overtaken by Djokovic last year for most weeks at world number one, he still holds the record for most consecutive weeks at the top. That figure stands at 237, which is more than 100 weeks more than Djokovic’s best run and nearly 200 more than Nadal’s.

It is easy to dismiss some of Federer’s numbers based on him having 24 active seasons, but given that includes the last couple of years his figures and achievements are comparable to anyone’s and worlds away most.

Jimmy Connors

Jimmy Connors in action

Wins: 1275

Win percentage: 81.73%

Titles won: 1275

Majors: 8

It will be no surprise to anyone to see Jimmy Connors top the list of most ATP match wins given his is the king of longevity.

The American officially had 28 active seasons on the ATP Tour, winning 8 majors and setting the bar for both match wins and titles won.

Connors also had incredible numbers for total weeks at world number one (268) and is second (160) to Federer alone in most consecutive weeks at the top.

Again, the old question of how players from different generations compare to each other will always be an unanswerable one, but Jimmy Connors boasts a legacy few will ever match in men’s tennis.

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