To mark the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings, the ATP hosted a ‘No.1 Celebration’ on Friday, August 23, in New York City.
Ilie Nastase, who became the first ATP World No.1 on August 23, 1973, was present to be honoured on the night, along with successors John Newcombe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, Marcelo Rios, Carlos Moya, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Gustavo Kuerten, Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the reigning world no.1, Novak Djokovic. The four decades’ worth of No. 1s shared a stage – and some fond memories as well.
Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Thomas Muster, Patrick Rafter and Marat Safin did not attend the celebration.
The ATP Heritage programme honours the 25 players who have reached the pinnacle since the ranking system was introduced.
Reflecting on what it means to hold the No.1 ranking, Novak said, “It’s definitely an ultimate goal for every athlete, not just tennis players. Growing up, in early childhood, you are inspired to show that love and appreciation and passion towards the sport, and of course there is this big drive – waking up every morning, working so hard, developing skills – to be No.1 in the world. Not many players have achieved that and to sit with fellow champions… I’m really honoured to be here.”
As part of the celebration, the ATP has published a collectible book, entitled ‘No.1’, providing unique insight into the emotions and mind-set of all the year-end ATP World Tour No.1s.
Watch the ATP Heritage Celebration video.
Photos: Ella Ling, ATP Staff