Without regard to playing surface or opponent, No. 3-ranked Novak Djokovic is laying down a title-winning pace that heralds a return to the days of Roger Federer’s annual double-digit totals in the mid-2000s.
Djokovic is 32-0 this season, good for six titles (the last two on clay). If the 23-year-old Serbian follows up Sunday’s Madrid win over top-ranked Rafael Nadal with a victory at the Rome Masters this week (and Nadal exits in the quarterfinals or earlier), Djokovic will have not only seventh title, but also the No. 1 ranking.
Djokovic’s current haul is the biggest before the French Open since Federer had six titles in 2005, according to the ATP. Theoretically, Djokovic is within range of the single-year record of 16 titles by Guillermo Vilas in 1977.
“It is my goal to try to go all the way at Roland Garros, and I am definitely setting my form up for that tournament,” Djokovic told reporters.
For some perspective, here's a look at the most prolific title winners on the men’s tour for each season since 2000:
Leading ATP title winners by year
Year Player(s) (year-end rank) Titles
2000 Marat Safin (No. 2) 7
2001 Gustavo Kuerten (No. 2) 6
2002 Lleyton Hewitt (No. 1)/
Andre Agassi (No. 2) 5 (tie)
2003 Roger Federer (No. 2) 7
2004 Federer (No. 1) 11
2005 Federer (No. 1)/
Rafael Nadal (No. 2) 11 (tie)
2006 Federer (No. 1) 12
2007 Federer (No. 1) 7
2008 Nadal (No. 1) 8
2009 Nadal (No. 2) 5
2010 Nadal (No. 1) 7
2011* Novak Djokovic (now No. 2) 6
*Season not complete