Novak Djokovic: Pete Sampras made me dream of winning Wimbledon, becoming a No. 1

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic admitted being labeled as the greatest tennis player of all time by Pete Sampras meant the world to him. 

Djokovic grew up idolizing Sampras and this week the American former world No. 1 dropped the ultimate praise on the Serb. 

“I do think what Novak’s done over the past 10 years, winning the majors, being consistent, finishing No. 1 for seven years, to me it’s a clear sign that he is the greatest of all time,” Sampras said.

Djokovic is a 20-time Grand Slam champion, owns the all-time Masters record as well as the record for most weeks spent as No. 1 and most year-end No. 1 finishes. 

Djokovic wanted to be like Sampras

“This means the world to me, especially as it is coming from someone who is a role model. He was the one when he played his first Wimbledon final, it was my first image of tennis. He made me dream to become a champion like him and hold the Wimbledon trophy and become World No. 1,” Djokovic said of Sampras. 

“He is one of the best players of all time in our sport and for something like that to come out of his mouth is extremely satisfying for me to hear.”

Sampras had six year-end No. 1 finishes. 

After beating Hubert Hurkacz in the Paris Masters semifinal, Djokovic clinched a record seventh year-end No. 1 finish. 

“Just proud and extremely happy,” Djokovic said after clinching the year-end No. 1 ranking for the seventh time. “Obviously that was one of the biggest goals and it’s always one of the biggest goals, to try to be No. 1 and end the season as No. 1,” Djokovic said. “To do it for the record seventh time and surpass my childhood idol and role model, Pete, is incredible. Very grateful, very blessed to be in this position.”

Djokovic is now aiming to win a sixth ATP Finals title. 

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