Djokovic has streaks of 38 and 40 wins. Which one should we cite?

Chris Chase

Two ledes from various news sources about Novak Djokovic's first-round win at the French Open:

Serbian star Novak Djokovic earned his 38th win in a row to start the 2011 season with a straight-set triumph in the first round of the French Open. -- TSN

Second seed Djokovic extended his winning streak to 40 matches with a 6-2 6-1 6-3 dismissal of Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker. -- Reuters

Make up your minds, people! He's won 38 straight to start 2011. He's won 40 straight overall. Both are correct, but it gets confusing when one source cites one stat and another source goes with a different one. Which is correct? Are both acceptable? How should we solve this problem?

I'm glad I rhetorically asked myself because, here today, Busted Racquet is unilaterally deciding that all references to Djokovic's 40-match win streak should be stricken from the record. My two reasons:

1. Winning streaks shouldn't carry over from season to season. The Los Angeles Dodgers won their final two games of the 2010 season. When the team opened 2011 with a victory, nobody said it was their third straight win. Ergo, those two wins from December shouldn't count.

2. Davis Cup matches shouldn't count toward ATP records. Djokovic didn't get any rankings points for beating Gilles Simon or Gael Monfils in December's Davis Cup final. There was no prize money involved. Why do we treat Davis Cup ties like they're regular tournaments? When Tiger Woods wins a Ryder Cup match it doesn't count as a victory on his regular resume. Why should this? (This is to take nothing away from those wins. They're still impressive and may have been the most pressure-filled matches Djokovic has ever played. For the purposes of a winning streak, however, they don't fit.)

There it is. Novak Djokovic has a 38-match winning streak. It's concise, there's no overlap and it ends all the confusion. Add the "to start 2011" qualifier if you must but let's join together to end the multi-numbered madness once and for all.

Or you can just do what the Associated Press did:

"The second-seeded Serb improved his 2011 record to 38-0—and stretched his winning streak to 40—on the second day of the tournament at Roland Garros," wrote the AP. Bulky, but it works too.