Novak Djokovic targets 'more records' after clinching year-end No 1 ranking for sixth time

Serbian 17-time major champion confirms status after Rafael Nadal opts against competing in Sofia next week

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Novak Djokovic will end the year as men's tennis' world No 1 for a sixth time, equalling the haul achieved by his childhood hero Pete Sampras.

Djokovic, 33, confirmed his year-end top ranked status after world No 2 Rafael Nadal decided against competing in next week's ATP Tour event in Sofia.

Spain's 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal was the only player who had a chance to stop the Serbian from finishing as the top-ranked player in 2020.

"Pete was somebody I looked up to when I was growing up, so to match his record is a dream come true" Djokovic said in an ATP statement.

"I will also keep striving to be a better player, hopefully have more success and break more records in a sport I love with all my heart."

During the year, Djokovic won the ATP Cup in January before picking up a record-extending eight Australian Open title in Melbourne. He also won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for a fifth time just before the coronavirus-enforced lockdown. Upon returning, Djokovic won the Cincinnati Masters and a record 36th ATP Masters title in Rome.

In September Djokovic also overtook Sampras, who ended as No 1 for six straight years between 1993 and 1998, for the most weeks overall at the top ranking and will begin his 294th week in first spot on Monday.

Djokovic, the winner of 17 Grand Slam titles, has mentioned that Roger Federer's record of 310 weeks as No 1 remains his target and he will have a chance to move past the Swiss on March 8 if he can hold on to his top spot.

"To finish the year as No 1 is one of the most impressive achievements in our sport, one which requires sustained excellence across the season," ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi added.

"To see Novak achieve this for the sixth time and match Pete's record is simply incredible, and he continues to cement his place in the history books."