He may be nursing some niggling injuries, but Viktor Axelsen this week marked his 100th consecutive week as men’s singles world No.1.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion has now been atop the world rankings for a total of 151 weeks.
Speaking after his first-round injury withdrawal at the YONEX French Open 2023 against Ng Ka Long Angus on Wednesday, Axelsen said: “It’s a great milestone. 100 is a nice number and to surpass that is a big milestone for me.
“It gives me motivation to reach more weeks as world No. 1, but for now, my main goal is to get healthy.
“My body is not feeling really well right now. The injury from last week was feeling so-so. And I had confidence I could finish but my back also started tensing up and for some reason my body doesn’t allow me to play matches right now, so I’ll be ready for Japan and China.”
Earlier in the week, the Dane took to his LinkedIn page to share his secret to longevity at the top.
“While the grand titles will always hold a special place, the world No.1 ranking signifies the consistency I’ve upheld over the past years.
“I recently engaged in a thought-provoking discussion with a friend about the essence of consistency and how we can improve it in our endeavours.
“My friend suggested that consistency equates to having few ‘bad’ days. However, I felt compelled to interject and clarify that I don’t believe I experience fewer challenging or off days compared to other players.
“In reality, it’s a rarity for everything to align perfectly when I step onto the court. There’s often a particular shot or aspect that doesn’t go as planned.
“What I genuinely believe I’ve honed over the years is my ability to navigate and overcome these challenging days, both on and off the court. Being better at having ‘bad’ days.”
Axelsen continued: “I hold the firm belief that the key lies in transforming these situations into opportunities for personal growth. Opting for a positive mindset instead of indulging in negative emotions has been crucial.
“This approach ensures that a tough training day or injury doesn’t cast a shadow over other aspects of my life, providing me with the best possible chance of reaching new heights in the future.”
Wise words from the very best.
We pay tribute to Viktor’s magical 100-week run!