Novak Djokovic wins his 23rd Grand Slam singles title by defeating

Norman Ray

Global Courant

Novak Djokovic plays against Sebastian Ofner during day five of the World Tennis League at the Coca-Cola Arena on December 23, 2022 in Dubai.

Christopher Pike | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

Novak Djokovic made it clear for years that this was his goal. What drove him. What inspired him. The biggest titles from the biggest podiums in his sport have been Djokovic’s main goal and now he finally stands alone – ahead of Rafael Nadal, before Roger Federer, before every man who has ever swung a racket.

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If Djokovic could wait that long to hold this record, he could certainly wait the half hour it took to rectify his blows in French Open final. And so, after a somewhat shaky start in thick, humid air and under ominous charcoal clouds on Sunday, he pressed on. The opponent to Court Philippe Chatrier, Casper Ruud, actually didn’t stand a serious chance after that.

Djokovic earned his men’s record 23rd Grand Slam singles championship, breaking a tie with Nadal and advancing three ahead of the retired Federer, with a 7-6(1), 6-3, 7-5 victory over Ruud that really wasn’t. in doubt for most of its 3 hours and 13 minutes.

Djokovic, a 36-year-old from Serbia, ranks these alongside the French Open titles he won in 2016 and 2021, making him the only man with at least three from each major event. He has won 10 trophies at the Australian Open, seven at Wimbledon and three at the US Open.

Also worth noting: Djokovic is again halfway through a calendar-year Grand Slam – winning all four majors in one season – something no one has achieved since Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic came close to that feat in 2021, when he won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon and reached the title match at the US Open before losing to Daniil Medvedev.

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Djokovic will resume that pursuit at Wimbledon, which begins on July 3 on the turf of the All England Club.

He has now lifted the trophy in 11 of the last 20 Slams, a remarkable streak made all the more so when you consider that he missed two majors in that span because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. Djokovic was kicked out of Australia ahead of the Australian Open in January 2021 and was banned from flying to the United States ahead of last year’s US Open under a rule that has since been lifted.

Achieving 23 not only sets the tone for men, but it also ties Djokovic with Serena Williams, who finished her career last year, for most by anyone in the Open era, which began in 1968. Margaret Court won part of her all-time record of 24 Slam trophies in the amateur era.

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At 20 days after his 36th birthday, Djokovic is the oldest singles champion at Roland Garros, considered the most grueling of the majors due to the long, grinding points required by the red clay, which is slower than grass or hard courts elsewhere .

from Nadal 22nd Major arrived in Paris two days after turning 36. He has been sidelined since January due to a hip injury and underwent arthroscopic surgery on June 2.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Djokovic’s victory on Sunday also means he returns to the number 1 spot in the ATP rankings on Monday, replacing Carlos Alcaraz. Djokovic has spent more weeks in first place than any player – male or female – since the beginning of computerized tennis rankings half a century ago.

It was Djokovic who knocked out Alcaraz in the semifinals on Thursday, exhausting him in two exciting sets until the 20-year-old Spaniard’s body cramped violently. Alcaraz continued to play, but the scores of the last two sets of the four-set match told the story: 6-1, 6-1.

For Ruud, a 24-year-old from Norway, this was the third Slam final in the past five events, but he is now 0-3. He lost to Nadal at the French Open a year ago and to Alcaraz at the US Open last September.

Novak Djokovic wins his 23rd Grand Slam singles title by defeating

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