Djokovic finishes the year as No.1


LONDON NOVAK DJOKOVIC has clinched the year-end world No. 1 ranking for a second straight year. The last player to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons was Roger Federer, from 2004-07.

Djokovic, who lost the No. 1 ranking to Federer in July following a 53-week reign, will reclaim the top spot next week when Federer drops his points from his 2011 title wins at the Swiss Indoors, Paris Masters and ATP World Tour Finals.

Federer will then not be able to earn enough rankings points to finish the year ahead of Djokovic.

Last year, Djokovic became the first Serbian man to finish No. 1 in the history of the rankings (since 1973) with a 10-title effort, including three Grand Slam crowns. He first ascended to No. 1 on July 4 of last year, following his first Wimbledon triumph.

Only 16 different players have managed to finish as year-end No. 1 in the 40- year history of the world rankings.

Djokovic has enjoyed another stellar season in 2012, opening his campaign with a successful defense of his title at the Australian Open. He has compiled a circuit-best 70-11 match record going into this week’s Paris Masters, where he will be looking to reach his seventh ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final of the season and add to his titles at the Sony Open in Miami, Rogers Cup in Toronto and Shanghai Masters. Djokovic also lifted the China Open trophy in Beijing and was a finalist at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open.

Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams will open their 2013 campaigns at the World Tennis Invitation exhibition tournament starting Dec. 29 at the Thai resort town of Hua Hin.

Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand president Suwat Lipatapanlop said Monday he is “delighted” the pair have chosen to start their 2013 campaign in Thailand. Suwat said the tournament — used by many players as a warm up for the Australian Open — would be a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Thai fans to watch Serena play.” Williams will enter the new year after a dominating 2012 that included winning the Wimbledon, US Open and Olympic singles titles.

Azarenka is defending her Hua Hin title after beating Caroline Wozniacki in last year’s final, while Williams will play in Thailand for the first time.

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