Jim Courier: Hopefully Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal play until they’re 40

Former world No. 1 Jim Courier believes that the weeks spent as world No. 1 and year-end finishes at No. 1 should play a big role in the greatest of all time debate. 

On Saturday, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat Hubert Hurkacz in three sets to reach the Paris Masters final and to secure the year-end No. 1 spot for a record seventh time. 

Earlier this season, Djokovic made it past Roger Federer on the all-time list for most weeks spent as No. 1. 

“I’ve been focused as I’ve watched this race develop between these three incredible champions still at it, the weeks at No. 1,” Courier said on Tennis Channel. “I think that that’s an under-valued asset as far as achievement goes. There’s too much weight put on the number of majors, but weeks at No. 1 really speaks to the body of work, especially when you factor in that these three champions, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, are all doing it largely at same time.

“It’s so remarkable that Novak has been able to track these guys down and now leapfrog them in a number of vital categories, seven times year-end No. 1 and running away with the weeks at No. 1 as well.”

Courier hopes Djokovic plays many more years 

Djokovic, 34, proved this season that he hasn’t lost a step and that he is still capable of winning the biggest titles. 

“I think he’ll pick his spots to get 4-, 5-, 6-week breaks like we’ve seen,” Courier said. “…That’s what extended Federer’s career so beautifully, too. Federer picked his spots and played sparingly from a young age. I hope we’ll be as luck to have Novak and Rafa play until they’re 40 like we have with Roger, and hopefully beyond.

“But playing a lighter schedule will go a long way toward keeping him fresh and probably healthy as well.”

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