For years, Tennis star Novak Djokovic made it obvious that being an all-time grand slam winner was his ambition. His major goal was to win the biggest trophies on the largest platforms in his sport, and today he stands alone — ahead of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and every guy who has ever swung a racket.
If Djokovic could maintain this record for this long, he could easily wait the half-hour or so it took to straighten out his swings in the French Open final. So, after a hesitant start in the dense, humid air and beneath threatening charcoal clouds on Sunday, he imposed himself. Casper Ruud, the opponent at Court Philippe Chatrier, never stood a chance after that.
Novak Djokovic won his 23rd Grand Slam singles title, breaking a tie with Nadal and moving three points ahead of the retiring Federer, with a 7-6 (1), 6-3, 7-5 victory over Ruud that was never in doubt for the majority of the 3 hours, 13 minutes.
Djokovic, 36, of Serbia, adds this championship to the French Open titles he won in 2016 and 2021, making him the only man with at least three from each major. He has ten Australian Open titles, seven Wimbledon titles, and three US Open titles.
Novak Djokovic is once again halfway to completing a calendar-year Grand Slam — winning all four majors in one season — a feat not accomplished since Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic came near to accomplishing the record in 2021, when he won the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon and advanced to the U.S. Open title final before losing to Daniil Medvedev.
Djokovic will resume his quest at Wimbledon, which begins on the All England Club’s grass on July 3.
He has now won 11 of the previous 20 Grand Slams, a phenomenal record made even more extraordinary by the fact that he missed two majors during that time due to a lack of COVID-19 vaccination.
Novak Djokovic Kicked out of Australia
Djokovic was deported from Australia before the Australian Open in January 2021, and he was barred from flying to the United States before last year’s U.S. Open due to a rule that has since been repealed.
Getting to 23 not only sets a new record for men, but also ties Djokovic with Serena Williams, who retired last year, for the most in the Open era, which began in 1968. Margaret Court earned several of her 24 Slam trophies during her amateur career.
Djokovic is the oldest singles champion at Roland Garros, which is regarded the most gruelling of the majors due to the lengthy, grinding points necessitated by the red clay, which is slower than grass or hard courts underfoot elsewhere.
Nadal won his 22nd major in Paris a year ago, two days after turning 36. He had arthroscopic surgery on June 2 after being sidelined by a hip issue since January.
Top Spot in the ATP Rankings
As if that weren’t enough, Djokovic’s victory on Sunday means he will reclaim the top spot in the ATP rankings on Monday, replacing Carlos Alcaraz. Djokovic has already spent more weeks at the top than any other player — man or woman — since computerised tennis rankings were introduced a half-century ago.
Djokovic knocked off Alcaraz in the semifinals on Thursday, wearing him down over two thrilling sets until the 20-year-old Spaniard’s body cramped up severely. Alcaraz kept playing, but the final two sets of the four-set match told the story: 6-1, 6-1.
Ruud, a 24-year-old Norwegian, reached his third Slam final in the last five competitions, although he is currently 0-3. He was defeated by Nadal at the French Open a year ago, then by Alcaraz in the US Open last September.
Djokovic, in his 34th major final, got off to a rough start, possibly due to a sense of what was at risk.
Ruud was greeted with a standing ovation and courteous applause. More people stood up when Djokovic entered, followed by thundering cries of his two-syllable moniker, “No-le! “No, no, no!”
That song began again shortly before the game began — and again throughout the afternoon, sometimes to celebrate his best moments, sometimes to encourage him.
The crowd erupted when Djokovic rattled off 12 of the final 13 points, collapsing onto his back with his limbs stretched wide at