Longest-winning streaks at the start of an ATP Tour season: Novak Djokovic peerless at No 1 and No 2

Shahida Jacobs

Jannik Sinner is yet to lose a singles match in 2024 and, while he is inside the top 10 of best starts to an ATP Tour season, the top-ranked Novak Djokovic is a class of his own.

Reigning Australian Open champion Sinner has now won 15 consecutive matches this year as he has followed up his maiden Grand Slam trophy at Melbourne Park with a title run at the Rotterdam Open and three wins at the Indian Wells Open.

The Italian, who is on an 18-match unbeaten run as he also won three matches at the Davis Cup in November last year, finds himself joint-eighth in terms of best unbeaten starts to an ATP Tour campaign.

Figures are only from the ATP Tour era (1990 onwards) with the overall record going to John McEnroe as he won 42 matches in a row during the 1982 season.

Top 10 Best Starts To An ATP Tour Season

=8. Jannik Sinner, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi – 15 matches

Jannik Sinner (2024)

The Italian won seven matches at the Australian Open, five at the Rotterdam Open and three at the Indian Wells Masters to move to 15-0. He can move to joint seventh if he beats Jiri Lehecka in the quarter-final in Indian Wells.

Novak Djokovic (2023)

The 2023 tennis season was an incredible one for Novak Djokovic as he won seven titles and had a 88.9% win-loss record. And 15 of those wins came at the start of the year as he won five matches at the Adelaide International, seven at the Australian Open and three at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

FYI, Daniil Medvedev was the player to end his run as the Russian beat him in straight sets in the Dubai semi-final.

Andre Agassi (1995)

Eight-time Grand Slam winner Agassi started his 1995 season with seven wins en route to lifting the Australian Open trophy as he beat top seed Pete Sampras in the final. He then won five matches during his title run at the Sybase Open in San Jose before making it to the quarter-final of in Philadelphia where he lost against qualifier Sebastien Lareau in straight sets.

7. Roger Federer – 16 matches

The 2006 season is rated Roger Federer’s best ever as he won 12 tournaments had a 92–5 record. Interestingly, it is only his second-best start to a year.

He kicked off his campaign with the Qatar Open title, then won the Australian Open and reached the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The man to end his run?

Rafael Nadal as the Spaniard won 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

=6. Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Pete Sampars – 17 matches

Novak Djokovic (2013)

The 2013 campaign delivered seven titles for Novak Djokovic and two of those trophies came at the beginning of the year as he opened his season with his fourth Australian Open title, defeating Andy Murray in the final. He then won the Dubai Tennis Championships before his run was ended by Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-final of the Indian Wells Open.

Roger Federer (2018)

The 2018 season delivered Roger Federer’s final Grand Slam title as he won the Australian Open with victory over Marin Cilic in the final. Next he won the Rotterdam Open, which helped him to become the oldest No 1 at the time, and then reached the final of the Indian Wells Open.

Federer had three match points to make it an 18-0 start to the season in the final, but Juan Martin Del Potro saved all three and won the title.

Pete Sampras (1997)

Tennis great Pete Sampras won eight titles in 1997 as he dominated the season. The American won the Australian Open as he defeated Carlos Moya in the final, he then won the San Jose title as he beat Greg Rusedski in the final before claiming title No 3 in Philadelphia.

Sampras’ run was ended by Bohdan Ulihrach as the Czech stunned him in his opener at the Indian Wells Masters.

3. Rafael Nadal – 20 matches

The 2022 season was Rafael Nadal’s best start to a tennis season as he kicked off the year with the Melbourne Summer Set title – winning four matches – before lifting his 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

The Spaniard then won the Mexican Open and had a good chance to start the year off with four titles, but lost in the final of the Indian Wells Open as he went down against Taylor Fritz.

2. Novak Djokovic – 26 matches

There is quite a gap between Nadal and Djokovic as well as Djokovic’s second-best start to his best-ever start.

The 2020 season started with the ATP Cup title for Djokovic and Serbia as he defeated Rafael Nadal in the final to lead his country to victory. Next up was the Australian Open as he beat Roger Federer en route to lifting his eighth title at Melbourne Park. He then won the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The tennis season, of course, was then put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Djokovic returned in August at the Cincinnati Open and he won his fourth consecutive title.

His streak ended in bizarre fashion in the fourth round of the US Open as he was defaulted from his match against Pablo Carreno Busta (20) when he accidentally hit a line official in the throat when he tried to return a ball to a ball kid.

1. Novak Djokovic – 41 matches

The Serbian great enjoyed a 43-match winning streak across the 2010 and 2011 seasons with 41 of those coming at the start of the 2011 campaign.

He started the year with the Australian Open title – beating Roger Federer in the semi-final and Andy Murray in the final – and followed it up with the Dubai Tennis Championships trophy with Federer the beaten finalist.

The month of March saw him win the Sunshine Double as he defeated Nadal in both the Indian Wells Open and Miami Open finals while in April he won the Serbia Open.

In May he won the Madrid Open – again Nadal had to settle for the runners-up trophy – and that was followed by the Italian Open (yes, Nadal again finished runner-up).