Novak Djokovic has made it clear for years that this is his goal. What prompted him? What a concern The biggest prizes on the biggest stages of his sport have been Djokovic’s main goal and he is now single at last – ahead of Rafael Nadal, ahead of Roger Federer, ahead of all players who have ever played swing.
If Djokovic can wait that long to hold that record, he can certainly wait the nearly half hour it took him to hit his shot in the French Open final. So after a somewhat hesitant start in the thick, damp air and under the charcoal clouds heralding Sunday, he climbed to the summit. Philippe Chatrier’s opponent, Casper Rudd, again never had a serious chance.
Djokovic won his record-breaking 23rd men’s singles Grand Slam tournament, defeating Nadal and leading three before Federer retired, with a 7-6(1), 6-3, 7-5 victory over Ruud who was certainly in most of the three hours. and 13 minutes.
Djokovic, 36, puts that title alongside his French Open titles in 2016 and 2021, making him the only man to take at least three from each major event. He won his first tournament at the 2008 Australian Open and now holds a total of 10 titles from there, seven Wimbledon titles and three US Open titles.
“A Grand Slam is a Grand Slam – the four biggest tournaments we have in the history of our sport, tennis. Every player dreams of being on this stage and winning the title at least once in their career. Very lucky in my life to win a Grand Slam tournament 23 times.” It’s unbelievable , unbelievable. »
It’s also worth noting that once again halfway to a calendar year’s Grand Slam – winning all four grand slams in a single season – something no man has accomplished since Rod Laver in 1969, Djokovic comes close to achieving the feat in 2021. , when he won the title. Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and reached the US Open title before losing to Daniil Medvedev.
Djokovic will resume that effort at Wimbledon, which began on grass at the All England Club on July 3.
He’s won trophies in 11 of his last 20 grand slams, which is an even more remarkable streak, considering he’s lost two majors in that span because he wasn’t vaccinated against COVID-19. Fired in January 2021 ahead of the Australian Open, Djokovic was banned from traveling to the United States ahead of last year’s US Open under a rule that has since been lifted.
Reaching No. 23 not only sets the mark for the men, but also allows Djokovic to match Serena Williams, who finished her career last year, more than anyone else in the Open Era, which began in 1968. Margaret Court won some of everything she had. king. – 24 Grand Slam tournaments in the amateur era.
Twenty days after his 36th birthday, Djokovic was the oldest singles champion at Roland Garros, considered the most grueling tournament because of the long grinding points required by red clay, and is slower than grass or difficult terrain underfoot anywhere else.
Nadal’s 22nd major arrived in Paris a year ago, two days after he turned 36. He has been out since January with a hip injury and had an arthroscopy on June 2.
Djokovic’s win on Sunday means he will return to the top of the ATP rankings on Monday, replacing Carlos Alcaraz. Djokovic has already spent more weeks at the top of the rankings than any player – male or female – since the creation of the computerized tennis rankings half a century ago.
And it was Djokovic who knocked Alcaraz out of the semifinals on Thursday, delivering a few thrilling sets until the 20-year-old Spaniard’s body was notoriously plump. Alcaraz continued to play, but the scores in the last two sets of the four-set match told the story: 6-1, 6-1.
It was the third Grand Slam final in the last five events for Ruud, the 24-year-old Norwegian, 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.
Perhaps realizing all that was at stake, Djokovic, in his 34th Grand Final, was the first to get off to a shaky start.
“Maybe he’s a little nervous, a little nervous,” Rudd said of his opponent.
Near the end of the first set, however, Djokovic was in the clear as Djokovic took 12 of his last 13 match points, most of which were accompanied by thunderous cheers from spectators as he dubbed his two-syllable nickname, Pound! no ! no ! ”
When one of Ruud’s final mistakes landed, Djokovic fell on his back with his limbs spread wide.
“It pushes you, in a way, to take more risks, and that’s hard,” said Rudd. He just stepped forward, as if he knew how to do it. »
However, first, Djokovic missed forehands – netting, wide, long – and then made another type of foul, heading close to the net’s path behind the opposite baseline to break and follow a 2-0 lead.
For some reason, that shot was always an ‘annoyer’ for Djokovic, and he missed another header later in the set.
Ruud quickly went up 4-1, thanks in part to Djokovic’s troubles. By then, Djokovic had recorded 13 unforced errors, while Ruud had only four.
Then everything changed.
After finishing the first set with 18 unforced errors, Djokovic reset, with only 14 errors in the last two sets.
Then it was Rudd’s turn to nod the ball, dip and put it into the net to complete the 29-point shot. Djokovic’s first serve break made it 4-3 and he shook his right fist.
Rudd called it “a little bit devastating”.
They went into a tiebreaker with Djokovic really dominating. When import increases with effort, it simply outperforms. It’s forever, it seems.
“He kind of moves into this situation, where he becomes like a wall,” said Rudd.
From first through seventh, Djokovic contributed four winners and was free of unforced errors.
That brought his career tiebreaker mark to 308-162, with a winning percentage of 0.655. In 2023, he’s 15-4, including 6-0 in Paris – there were 55 points in the half-dozen, and Djokovic’s total fouls were zero.
Read that again: zero.
“It’s just moving forward,” said Rod. “Either he plays stupid defense or he plays great victors. Make no mistake.”
This collection alone took an hour and 21 minutes, and it’s full of extended exchanges, the kind of points on which whole stories could be written. There were those who lasted 20, 25, 29 moves. And Rod won one of them with the help of a shot between his legs. Djokovic, meanwhile, fell behind the baseline, his red jersey, shorts and leather stained with rust-colored mud.
Djokovic’s scrambling, stretching, ducking and twisting in defense definitely show up on the scoreboard. But all the long stitches drain the opponent’s energy and will.
“It’s overwhelming for me,” said Rudd, “but it’s very impressive.”
When Djokovic broke to lead 3-0 in the second set, now powerhouse at full speed, he slammed his right index finger on his temple repeatedly. He rolled to face his near box into the stands, where the group included his coach, Goran Ivanisevic; his wife and two children. Fatherhood and Motherhood. his agent and even seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.
Brady à la retraite is a large considéré as the “plus grand de tous les temps” – ou “the chèvre” in abrégé – and that ya un débat in the monde du tennis depuis un certain temps to save qui Djokovic, Nadal or Federer Meritent Address .
If the scale is Grand Slam tournaments, no one can argue where Djokovic is at right now.
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