Novak Djokovic Scores His 1,000th Win: 'I'm Really Blessed and Privileged to Have that Many Victories'

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Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

TPN/Getty

Novak Djokovic has a thousand reasons to celebrate.

After defeating Casper Ruud of Norway in straight sets — 6-4, 6-3 — at the Italian Open semifinal on Saturday, the Serbian tennis champion officially earned his 1,000th tour-level win.

He is now the fifth man to reach the milestone in the sport's Open Era, joining Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl, and Rafael Nadal.

"Thanks to the tournament and the crowd for celebrating the milestone with me," Djokovic, 34, said in a post-match interview, according to the ATP Tour.

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"I've seen Roger and Rafa celebrate those milestones in the last couple of years and I was looking forward to get to that 1,000 myself," he continued. "I'm really, really blessed and privileged to have that many victories on the Tour."

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning against Italy's Matteo Berrettini during their men's singles final match on the thirteenth day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 11, 2021.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning against Italy's Matteo Berrettini during their men's singles final match on the thirteenth day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 11, 2021.

Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Novak Djokovic

"It's been a long time, ever since I won my first match on the Tour. Hopefully I can keep going and many more victories to come," he concluded.

The massive landmark in his career has now secured Djokovic a place in the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece on Sunday, whom he also previously competed against in the 2021 Roland Garros final.

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"Another final against him at one of the biggest tournaments we have in the world," Djokovic said, per the ATP Tour. "He's definitely in form. The last few years, he's been [one of the] top two, three clay-court players. In general, top two, three in the world."

"But especially on the clay court, winning Monte Carlo, always reaching the final stages of the biggest events on clay," he explained. "I can expect a big battle on the court, but I'm ready for it."

Djokovic is currently ranked No. 1 in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals, but briefly slipped to No. 2 following his absence in the 2022 Australian Open in January.

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The athlete received a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption to play in the Australian Open, but was later forced to leave the country after Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke canceled his visa.

Hawke said in a statement at the time that he was canceling Djokovic's visa "on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so." He assured that the government is "firmly committed to protecting Australia's borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic."

RELATED: Novak Djokovic's Visa Reinstated, Wins Battle to Stay in Australia for Now

Djokovic, however, will be eligible to compete at Wimbledon in June despite his COVID-19 vaccination status after tournament organizers announced last month that unvaccinated players won't be exempt from participating.

With that said, Djokovic's participation is still up in the air after the tennis star criticized Wimbledon's recent ban on Russian and Belarusian players amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

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