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Novak Djokovic has once again finished as the No.1 ranked player this year as the ATP Tour published the official ATP rankings earlier this week.

For a record seventh time, Novak Djokovic has finished as the No.1 ranked player at the end of the year. He is now level with Pete Sampras for the most year-end No.1 finishes in history.

At 34 years of age, Djokovic also becomes the oldest No.1 ranked player at the end of a season.

It is also the third time Djokovic has finished as back-to-back No. 1 (2011-12, 2014-15, 2020-21).

It comes after a magnificent year for the Serbian where he won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this season before being defeated by Daniil Medvedev in the final of the US Open.

Medvedev finished at No.2 making it his third straight year in the top 10 at seasons end.

Fresh off his ATP finals win in Turin, Alexander Zverev finished as world No.3. The 26-year-old unsettled his biggest rival in Medvedev defeating the Russian 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the week claiming his second ATP finals title.

Zverev broke once in each set as he careered away to beat the reigning US Open winner in 75 minutes. Medvedev dropped serve at 1-1 in the first set and then again in the first game of the second set displaying the dominance of Zverev in the final.

Zverev now earns himself a long-awaited break while Daniil Medvedev will head to the Davis Cup Finals which get underway on the 25th of November.

Both players will now also be turning their attention to the Australian Open which begins on January the 17th early next year. However, organisers have been left in the dark as to whether reigning champion Novak Djokovic will be at Melbourne Park to defend his title.

CEO of Tennis Australia Craig Tiley has confirmed that all competing players must be fully vaccinated to play in the tournament.

However, the 20-time grand slam champion has refused to publicly declare his vaccination status.

Entries for the Australian Open will officially open in less than three weeks' time meaning that Djokovic and the rest of his team will need to state their vaccination status if they are to compete.

Roger Federer is the first big name player already confirmed not be travelling down under as he recovers from a knee injury, and it is hoped that Djokovic also won’t be on the sidelines.

Meanwhile for the women, Ash Barty has continued her strong form despite facing injury, finishing as the No.1 ranked player after the WTA released their end of year rankings.

Barty, who recently shared she is now engaged to Garry Kissick, has now finished as the No.1 ranked WTA player for a third straight year.

Barty has had another successful season highlighted by beating Karolina Pliskova to become only the third Australian woman to win Wimbledon.

As one of the most improved players in 2021, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka finished as the No.2 ranked player behind Barty.

The 23-year-old steered her way into the semi-finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open and in a breakout season also won the Australian Open women’s doubles final alongside Elise Mertens.

After finishing No.15 last season Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza has also had a standout season.

Between 2015-2017 Muguruza had year-end results in the top ten and this year she climbed her way back to finish up at No.3.

Earlier this month Muguruza claimed her first WTA finals title after defeating Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 7-5. It took Muguruza 98 minutes to prevail as she won the last 4 games of the second set.

Other ranking highlights include six women making their top 10 debuts at seasons end with Barbora Krejcikova at No.5, Maria Sakkari at No.6, Anett Kontaveit at No.7, Paula Badosa at No.8, Iga Swiatek at No.9 and the final debutant being Ons Jabeur at No.10.

2021 has proven to be an exciting year for the women’s game.

With the younger talent now prospering tennis fans will be eager for the WTA season to get underway for 2022 with 250 and 500 events scheduled for Melbourne and Adelaide in the first week of January.

Listen to The First Serve with Brett Phillips each Monday at 8pm AEDT on 1116AM SEN Melbourne, 1629AM SEN SA / 1170am Sydney or listen live and catch up on the SEN App.

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