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Novak Creates History in Paris

Novak Creates History in Paris
June 11, 2023

History was made on the red clay courts of Roland Garros and the man who made that history said that history motivate him. What more can be said about Novak Djokovic the tennis player that has not already been said time and again. The superlatives have been exhausted about his on-court achievements.

Djokovic took three hours 13 minutes to win the French Open. He defeated a courageous Casper Ruud 7-6, 6-3, 7-5 which was the fifth consecutive he has beaten the Norwegian and yet again he did it in straight sets.

"This is one of the biggest ones, of course," Djokovic said of where this stands for him. "I knew that going into the tournament, going into the match especially today, that there is history on the line, but I try to focus my attention and my thoughts into preparing for this match in the best way possible to win like any other match. 

"Of course, if I say that I didn't think about, you know, the finish line that is right there and that one more match is needed to win a trophy, historic one, of course, but my team has created a good bubble around me. So, you know, we did, I think, a great job into just staying into the present moment and performing as good as we wanted to. And of course, when I saw his forehand going wide, I felt a huge relief, and I was overwhelmed with wonderful emotions. Yeah, I'm very happy and very proud of it."

This victory returned Djokovic to the world No.1 ranking which will start his 388th week at the top of the tennis tree, but more importantly for him is the fact that it is his third French Open which makes him the only man in history to have won each of the four majors three or more times - the only other players to do that are Margaret Court, Stefanie Graf and Serena Williams.

It is his 23rd career major which breaks the tie he shared with Rafa Nadal, but this victory is a new men's record. In tennis, period, he is now tied with Serena Williams on 23 and one behind the all-time record held by Margaret Court.

After the semi-finals when he defeated Carlos Alcaraz, it was asked of Djokovic if he has thought of the calendar Grand Slam, winning all four of the majors in one year. He is the only one who can do it this year as he won the Australian Open. He said that it's too far "but if I win on Sunday, it won't be". He probably does not think it's too far now. This is the third time in his career that he has won the first two legs of the ultimate prize in worlds tennis.

On top of all that he has also become the oldest man to win the French Open, outdoing Nadal who had that from last year's Roland Garros.

For Ruud the disappointment was certainly evident because it is the second consecutive year, he has lost the final in Paris. The Norwegian has reached three major finals out of the last five he has played, and each time run into incredibly tough oppositions - at last year's French it was Nadal, then at the US Open it was Alcaraz and now Djokovic.

"Obviously anyone you play in a Grand Slam final is going to be a good player. But the three players I've played is just Rafa going for, at the time, the record for 22, and then Carlos who was just on fire in New York, and then here, Novak, going for 23. I played very tough players, as you say," Ruud said. 

"There have been other maybe players in the final, also in the last years, that have maybe been more -- what should I say? -- playable or beatable, because these guys know what to do. I can't just sit and make excuses, but let's see what the future holds.

"I think this is maybe the most important final that I reached, honestly, because first time was, yes, very cool. But here I sort of proved that whatever happened last year is just not like a one-time case. Even for next year when we come back to Roland Garros, people are going to look, ‘Oh, Casper didn't just make one final, but he made it twice'."

Ruud started the final exceptionally well. He led 4-1 and was looking good but there a couple of points here and there that allowed Djokovic some air and he was back in. There was no doubt Ruud kept fighting and the third set was also close but Djokovic experience in these situations paid dividends.

The doubles title went to Ivan Dodig n Austin Krajicek, they defeated Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 6-3, 6-1.

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