Novak Djokovic reaches record 23 grand slam titles after French Open final win: He has used the dizzying bar set by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal before him as inspiration to push himself to his limits, never doubting he would rise above it one day.
Eventually, what seemed impossible became inevitable. In Sunday’s final, Djokovic beat Casper Ruud 7-6 (1), 6-3, 7-5 to win his 23rd grand slam, breaking his tie with Nadal of 22.
As a result of Djokovic’s historic victory, he now holds the sole grand slam record for men, along with countless other records. Djokovic is the first man to win each grand slam tournament three times after being blocked for years by Nadal, the greatest claycourter of all time. As the best player in the world, he will return to No 1 for an unprecedented 388th week.
Every player dreams of playing on this stage and winning the trophy at least once in their career. Having won 23 times is an incredible feeling,” Djokovic said during his on-court remarks.
Despite his age, he still covers the court with more flexibility and ease than most athletes at their peak. With 36 years and 20 days, Djokovic is now the oldest Roland Garros singles champion in history. In addition, he has won the last three grand slams he has entered – he was not able to attend the US Open last year due to the ban on unvaccinated visitors – accumulating a 21-match grand slam winning streak.
In a grand slam final, Ruud knew what level it would take to beat Djokovic after contesting the French and US Open finals against Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz last season.
Ruud vaporized his forehand as he took an early break, while Djokovic started poorly. As he sprayed forehands and missed overheads, he played passively. However, Djokovic has the advantage of always having options at his disposal. To gain the early break, he dug in and relied on his legs to soak up Ruud’s stinging forehands.
Despite this, the Norwegian kept his head up. As he led 5-4 with Djokovic serving, he scored the decisive point. Ruud led 0-30 after some inspirational play, including a successful tweener lob. A simple second serve return by Ruud led to a forehand error at 5-4, 30-30. Djokovic pounced on Ruud’s tension.
He held serve, forced a tiebreak, and then picked apart Ruud’s weaker backhand. Ruud said, “He just steps up.”. “He either plays ridiculous defense or plays beautiful winners.”. He never makes a mistake. Either he lets you go for too much or he plays a beautiful winner.”
During the second set, the Serb’s nerves were gone. He dictated from inside the baseline, pulverizing Ruud’s forehand, and he methodically broken down Ruud’s backhand as he neutralised his serve. After clinching the decisive break late in the third set, Djokovic closed out one of his greatest career triumphs. He collapsed to the ground before climbing up to his player box after the final point.
Following so many years of success at all levels, Djokovic has repeatedly explained that his priorities have changed. Now, he is motivated by grand slam tournaments. Those two weeks have been a comprehensive reflection of that approach. He struggled with form and an elbow injury during the clay court season, forcing him to withdraw from the Madrid Open. In spite of this, he has met every challenge in his quest for a historic grand slam title.
Djokovic has software in his head that he can switch to when a grand slam comes, said Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic. “Grand slams are a different sport from other tournaments. He switched his software. He was better, more motivated, and more hungry the day we arrived.”
According to Djokovic, since he was a child, his goals have always been to win Wimbledon and become the world’s number one. Those goals have been exceeded more than ten times. With Djokovic, Serena Williams, Nadal and Federer, this fading era of greatness has completely changed the way people view success in tennis.
Nowadays, young players often aim to be the best of all time. 23 grand slam titles is now a record.