Even for one of the best returners of all time, last week was some return for Novak Djokovic. Playing for the first time since a crushing defeat to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final in September, Djokovic not just won the Paris Masters, but turned the tables on the Russian with a three-set win in the final, secured a record-breaking seventh year-end No 1 finish, and moved ahead of Rafael Nadal in the all-time standings for most Masters titles with 37.
Djokovic’s hugely-impressive 2021 season has also seen him break Roger Federer's long-standing record for most weeks as world No 1 and move level with Federer and Nadal in the all-time Grand Slam race.
“He continues to beat the records,” said Medvedev after losing 4-6 6-3 6-3 to Djokovic in the final in Paris. “There are going to be new people coming to tennis [in the future] who are just going to read in Wikipedia, or whatever, what were the results, who was the world No 1 for most weeks, for most times in the end, and they are going to see Novak everywhere.”
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As he continues to make history, what other records could Djokovic set his sights on in the years ahead?

Winning a 21st Grand Slam title

The biggie. Djokovic has won eight majors in the last four years to pull level with Federer and Nadal at the top of the all-time standings with 20. He missed his first chance to win No 21 in New York, but other opportunities will surely follow soon.
The 2022 Australian Open will be his next chance to add to his tally of majors, if he decides to travel to Melbourne. Djokovic has said he is uncertain if he will defend his Australian Open due to the Covid-19 protocols that are set to be in place, and he is waiting for official confirmation from Tennis Australia on the rules before making his decision. Even if Djokovic doesn’t play in Australia, it still seems more likely than not that he will move ahead of Federer and Nadal in 2022.
Another attempt at the Calendar Slam - which hasn't been achieved by a male player since Rod Laver in 1969 - can't be completely ruled out either after Djokovic came so close to winning all four majors this season. And is there a chance that Djokovic could win four more Australian Open titles and equal Nadal's French Open record for most wins at a single Grand Slam (13)?

‘Hard to reflect on my achievements’ – Djokovic after winning 37th Masters title

Connors' record for most titles

Djokovic’s victory in Paris saw him clinch his 86th career title, but he will need to add plenty more trophies to his collection if he is to secure the record for the most titles in the Open Era.
Djokovic is currently fifth in the all-time standings behind Jimmy Connors (109), Roger Federer (103), Ivan Lendl (94) and Rafael Nadal (88). Given his preference for quality over quantity in the last few years (he has won five titles this year, four in 2020, five in 2019 and four in 2018) it seems highly unlikely that Djokovic will catch Connors or Federer. He could soon move ahead of Nadal, though, and then would only be a few behind Lendl in third spot.
Djokovic does hold the record for most ‘Big Titles’ with 62 ahead of Nadal (57) and Federer (54). A 'Big Title' is classed as a Grand Slam, the ATP Finals, an ATP Masters 1000 event or an Olympic singles gold medal.

Federer’s ATP Finals record

Djokovic has won the ATP Finals five times, the same as Pete Sampras and one behind Federer’s record of six. He has an opportunity to move level with Federer in Turin, but will need to overcome some below-par recent form at the event to do so. Djokovic hasn’t won the ATP Finals since 2015 and hasn’t made the final since he was runner-up to Alexander Zverev in 2018.
But this year he comes into the tournament fresher than normal following his two-month break and is clearly motivated to finish the season on a strong note, with the Davis Cup finals also on his mind after the ATP Finals.

Roger Federer, ATP World Tour Finals, 2011

Image credit: Reuters

Most matches won

Djokovic already holds the best win percentage among men’s players in the Open Era (83.3 per cent, just ahead of Nadal on 83.1 and Federer on 81.9), but he does not have the most match wins.
That record is held by Federer, who has amassed 1,251 wins over his career. Nadal is in second place with 1,028 and Djokovic is third with 982. Whether Djokovic breaks this record will depend on how much longer he plays and also how much longer Federer, who is currently recovering from knee surgery, continues to play. Djokovic has got 48 wins this season so at that pace would need to keep going until he was nearly 40 to rival Federer’s current tally.

Oldest men’s Grand Slam winner

Not necessarily a record that Djokovic will have on his mind, but if he does break this one then it will likely mean he has distanced himself from Federer and Nadal in the Grand Slam standings. Ken Rosewall currently holds the record for oldest men's Grand Slam champion after winning the Australian Open in 1972 at the age of 37, with Federer in second place after winning in Melbourne aged 36 in 2018. Djokovic is set to turn 35 in May next year.

How motivated will Djokovic be to break records?

If Djokovic does win the Australian Open in January it will be fascinating to see what his next target will be. This year it was the record for most weeks as world No 1 and more Grand Slam titles – but what will keep him going if he pulls clear from Federer and Nadal?
He has made it clear that the priorities at this stage of his career are majors and winning silverware for Serbia. He also clearly enjoys spending time away from his court with his family, which may mean less time on tour, but he said after Paris that he is still hungry to break records.
"I have always been honest enough to say that the history of our sport is too big a motivation. It is an objective, yes, to prove that I can break all the records with all the results that I can obtain on the tour professionally.
"So, yes, I love breaking records. I'm very motivated to carry on. My priority is the Grand Slams and Masters 1000 where you can gain the largest number of points. This is an added benefit of our sport."
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