|Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain in the men's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 12, 2011. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
LONDON, ENGLAND - Novak Djokovic will finish 2011 as the No. 1 player in the world, as he becomes the 16th different man to finish atop the rankings, which began back in 1973.
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal's third-round loss at the Shanghai Masters on Thursday assured the Serbian star of the top ranking come the end of the season.
The 24-year-old Djokovic is the first Serbian man to finish No. 1 and this also marks a record eighth straight year a European is the No. 1 player on the ATP World Tour.
Djokovic is the first player other than Roger Federer (2004-07, '09) or Rafael Nadal (2008, '10) to finish No. 1 since American Andy Roddick turned the trick back in 2003.
The Belgrade native Djokovic ascended to No. 1 for the first time on July 4 after capturing his first-ever Wimbledon title. He opened his '11 campaign with an incredible 41-match winning streak, which gave him a 43-match overall winning streak, dating back to last season.
Djokovic has already won a career-high 10 titles in 11 finals this year, including his second Australian Open and first U.S. Open crowns.
En route to a 64-3 match record, he has captured a record five Masters titles in a season and compiled a 20-2 record against Top-10 opponents, defeating rivals Nadal six times and Federer four times so far in 2011.
Djokovic has been sidelined for the last few weeks due to a back injury.