Djokovic can't stop ringing in the records, winnings

Having scooped the year's first Grand Slam at Melbourne Park and following that up with back-to-back wins at Indian Wells and Miami, Novak Djokovic is tightening his stranglehold on men's tennis.
Having scooped the year's first Grand Slam at Melbourne Park and following that up with back-to-back wins at Indian Wells and Miami, Novak Djokovic is tightening his stranglehold on men's tennis.

MIAMI • As tennis' Big Four (Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray) have been reduced to the big one (Djokovic), the measures of that one's greatness have become ever more striking.

Consider money. In winning his third straight Miami Open men's title on Sunday after overcoming Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, Djokovic surpassed Federer as the career prize-money leader on the Association of Tennis Professionals' Tour.

His US$1,028,300 (S$1.39 million) winner's cheque put his career winnings at US$98,199,548.

Or consider titles. Djokovic, still only 28, now holds the career record for ATP Masters 1000 titles with 28, and he extended his streak of consecutive matches won at the Miami Open to 16.

He has won 29 of his last 30 matches in Miami dating to 2011. This was also the site of his first ATP Masters 1000 win, in 2007.

And then there are the rankings. Djokovic will extend his streak of consecutive weeks holding tennis' No. 1 ranking to 92.

What else? With Sunday's victory, the Serb improved to 28-1 for the season and became the first player to win three straight Miami titles since Andre Agassi from 2001 to 2003, also tying the American for the most wins at the tournament.

Djokovic became just the seventh player in history to win the first two ATP Masters 1000 events back-to-back at Indian Wells, California and Miami, and he is the only player to win both titles in the same year four times (2011, 2014-16).

This was his 63rd career title, and he passed his coach, Boris Becker, in career wins, with his 714th.

"Boris' wins by far is the most important record," Djokovic said.

"I had a phone call with him, and we had a laugh about it.

"Of course I'm very grateful and proud of all the achievements. The fact that I put myself in a position to make records and to have my name in the history books is a great incentive before matches like this.

"But I didn't think about it too much, and I didn't impose any pressure or I didn't want to have it as a distraction, but rather as motivation."

Nishikori, 26, who made 30 unforced errors against just 10 winners, suffered his sixth consecutive loss in meetings with Djokovic, who leads their career rivalry 7-2.

"It's tough to find his weakness, honestly," said the Japanese world No. 6. "The biggest thing is he has great defence. It's tough to open up the space.

"I had a couple of strategies before coming to this match, but I don't think I did that well to beat him. I hope I can step up a little more next time."

Djokovic's next stop on the way to the French Open is the Monte Carlo Masters, where he will most likely surpass US$100 million in career winnings.

NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2016, with the headline 'Djokovic can't stop ringing in the records, winnings'. Print Edition | Subscribe