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  • A Brief History Of Time…Spent As World Number One, As Medvedev Closes In On Returning To The Top

A brief history of time…spent as world number one, as Medvedev closes in on returning to the top

Andy Schooler takes a look at some of the ATP rankings records - both good and bad - as Medvedev attempts to become world number one again.

So, Daniil Medvedev's reign as tennis' world number one didn't last long.

An early defeat to Gael Monfils in Indian Wells means he got replaced as world number one by Novak Djokovic having spent just three weeks at the summit of the rankings. However, the Russian is in the fourth round at the Miami Open and should he reach the semi-finals, he will replace Djokovic once again.

But his stint as number one is far from the shortest in ATP history…

Shortest stint as world no. 1

Daniil Medvedev's three-week spell as king is a long reign when compared to the shortest spell as number one.
A player has been usurped from the world no. 1 spot after just one week on no fewer than 13 occasions, the most recent example being Roger Federer, whose stint as top dog in June 2018 lasted just seven days.
It also happened to Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Thomas Muster and Pat Rafter - if Medvedev enjoys a similar career to some of those names he will doubtless be very happy.
McEnroe actually held the top spot for only one week on four occasions.

Fewest total weeks as world no. 1

Whatever happens in Medvedev's career from here, he is guaranteed to have held the top berth for longer than two of the other 26 players to have ruled the roost.

Carlos Moya's reign in 1999 lasted only two weeks but the shortest 'record' is held by Pat Rafter.
His single-week spell, also in 1999, proved the only occasion on which he topped the ATP pile.
Still, being the 'worst' best isn't exactly too bad, especially given Rafter's era included both Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

World no. 1s never to win a Grand Slam title

Daniil Medvedev's US Open triumph of 2021 means he's already managed to avoid this unwanted label.
In fact of the 27 players to have been world number one, only one has failed to win a Grand Slam in his career.
That man was Chilean Marcelo Rios, who ascended to top spot shortly after losing the 1998 Australian Open final, which would prove to be the only Grand Slam final of his career.
Ivan Lendl also became world no. 1 when Slam-less but he went on to win no fewer than eight majors.

Most world no. 1 players in a calendar year

Five players held top spot during a topsy-turvy 1999 season.
Pete Sampras began it in top spot but passed the baton onto Carlos Moya in March. Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Andre Agassi and Pat Rafter would all also spend time at the rankings summit that season.
Kafelnikov (Australian), Agassi (French & US) and Sampras (Wimbledon) were 1999's Grand Slam champions.

Most ATP no. 1 changes in a calendar year

With five players now within 2,500 points of each other (and 2,000 going to the winner of a Slam) perhaps the 2022 season will prove something of a roller coaster with the domination of one player we've become accustomed to over the past 20 years swept away.
Still, it seems unlikely that the record of 10 changes to the number one position - something which happened in 1983 - will be broken.

Djokovic's return to top spot post-Indian Wells is the second change of 2022 but 39 years ago they'd already had four by the end of February.

John McEnroe started and ended the year as top dog and enjoyed most time at the summit during it (26 weeks in total) but he spent much of the year swapping the number one ranking with Jimmy Connors (9 weeks) and Ivan Lendl (17).

Longest stint as world no. 1

Daniil Medevdev's three-week reign adds some perspective to the longest-ever spell as world number one.
That record for consecutive weeks as no 1 is held by Roger Federer at 237 and clearly won't be broken any time soon.
The Swiss star's streak of more than four years began when Federer first rose to top spot on February 2, 2004 and ended on August 17, 2008 when he was usurped by Rafael Nadal.
For the record, Djokovic's longest stint as world no. 1 is 122 weeks and Nadal's 56.

Most weeks as world no. 1

By returning to the summit on Monday, Djokovic has extended this record to 362.

It stretches his lead on this metric to a full year over Roger Federer, who has spent 310 weeks in total as world no. 1.

Rafael Nadal's tally of 209 looks poor in comparison but the fact is only five players have spent longer in top spot, the others being Pete Sampras (286), Ivan Lendl (270) and Jimmy Connors (268).

Most year-end world no. 1 finishes

This is another record held by Novak Djokovic.
By finishing 2021 at the top of the ATP ranking list, he set a new record of seven year-end world no. 1 finishes.
He moved past Pete Sampras, who achieved the feat six times. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Jimmy Connors did this on five occasions each.
One notable fact to finish on - the last year-end no. 1 not to win a Grand Slam during the season was John McEnroe in 1982.

Read more: Joe Salisbury becomes world No.1 in doubles standings after reaching Miami Open quarter-finals

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