Novak Djokovic has praised Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Serbian, who has occupied the number one position for a record number of weeks since Monday, is sure that he would not have become so good without his rivals.

On Monday, 33-year-old Djokovic broke the record of Federer six years older, who has led the world rankings for 310 weeks in his career.

'The Djoker' has been number one in the world for 311 weeks now;

a unique achievement that, in his view, ironically came about by Federer.

“When I turned pro 15 years ago, I took on the challenge of surpassing Roger and Rafa. In 2008 I won my first Grand Slam tournament and thought my time was up. But then I didn't win a major for three years and lost I play a lot of important games against them, ”said Djokovic on Monday night at the

BBC

.

"Roger and Rafa made me realize what I needed to do better to beat them. They really made me the player I am today. The rivalry with them has had the biggest impact on the development of my game."

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have dominated men's tennis for much of this century.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have dominated men's tennis for much of this century.

Photo: Getty Images

Djokovic will prioritize Grand Slam tournaments

One of Djokovic's main goals in the remainder of his career is to capture the Grand Slam record, which is still held by Federer and Nadal.

The Swiss and the Spaniard have twenty titles, two more than the Serbian.

"I have to realize that I am not 23 years old anymore. That means that I have to make my schedule even smarter and give priority to the Grand Slam tournaments," said Djokovic, who recently won the Australian Open for the ninth time.

The number one in the world does not yet know whether he, like Federer, wants to continue at least until his 40th.

The legendary Swiss makes his return this week at the ATP tournament in Doha after an absence of more than a year.

"What Roger is still doing at his age is very inspiring to me and many other tennis players," said Djokovic.

"It's great to see him back."