Novak Djokovic says he ‘will leave the GOAT debate to others’ as he eyes special record in Vienna

Novak Djokovic says he has his eyes on two records this week in Vienna, and he will tie with his idol should he achieve one of them.

Djokovic is playing Vienna for the first time in 13 years knowing that a decent performance will get him a record-equalling sixth year-end world number one.

That is a record he would share with Pete Sampras, and that would be very meaningful to Djokovic.

“I leave the GOAT debate to others, it is not my place,” Djokovic told the press ahead of Vienna.

“I am trying to keep the no 1 ranking, Sampras has been my idol growing up and it would be amazing to tie his record [of six year-end world number ones].”

After he has achieved that, Djokovic admits he will turn his attention to breaking Roger Federer’s record of most weeks at world number one.

Some say the new rankings system, which sees points protected from March 2019, will help him do that.

However, under the usual system it is highly likely he would have already beaten the record due to the freezing of the world rankings during the enforced coronavirus suspension.

“This temporary ranking system is on until March, for me personally it is great because I have won a lot of points.

“It would be a different story for me, but it was the same for everybody.

“I hope that I can reach historic no 1 in March, but everything is unpredictable.”

Djokovic needs just two wins in Vienna to make the year-end world number one secure, but he will have to go through compatriot Filip Krajinovic first after they were drawn together in round one.

“I practised with Filip for a few days in Belgrade before coming here and we joked around that we might draw each other and that’s what happened,” Djokovic said.

“The odds of this happening are very slim, [having] the only two Serbian guys in the draw next to Lajovic play first round.

“But it is what it is. We are great friends, I’ve known Filip for a long time. He’s a very talented guy, hard court is his preferred surface.

“He can play very quick tennis. We have similar games actually because we kind of grew up together.”

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