Although Djokovic currently sits tied with his fellow Big Three members in the Grand Slam race, with 20 titles each, Sampras said it was the 34-year-old’s consistency and record number of year-end No 1 finishes that set him apart.
The tennis legend continued: “I do think what Novak’s done over the past 10 years, winning the majors, being consistent, finishing No. 1 for seven years, to me it’s a clear sign that he is the greatest of all time.”
Djokovic himself has often heralded Sampras as his idol and, speaking during his year-end No 1 trophy ceremony in Turin, said it was the American who inspired him to pick up a racquet.
“I was four or five when I saw Sampras play at Wimbledon for the first time,” Djokovic said, speaking in Italian on the ATP Finals court.
“I asked for a racquet and fell in love with tennis. To know that I hold this record now, after Pete, it’s incredible.”