In recent years tennis has enjoyed the privilege of witnessing records and milestones fall and history being rewritten. The 2021 French Open was another event that captured the focus of attention for the record books.
The world No.1 Novak Djokovic wrote his name into yet another historical feat. Novak became the first man in the open era, which began in 1968 to win every one of the four majors multiple times. He is also only the third person in the total history of tennis to achieve this, the others being Rod Laver and Roy Emerson.
“Of course, I am thrilled and I'm very proud of this achievement,” Djokovic said. “I think part of the history of the sport that I love with all my heart is always something that is very inspiring and very fulfilling for me. I couldn't be happier and more satisfied with this kind of scenario in the last 48 hours. Probably ranks at the top three all-time achievements and experiences that I had in my professional tennis career.”
It took Djokovic four hours and eleven minutes to score the victory as he came back from two sets to love down for the sixth time in his career 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 6-4. He rebounded after stunning Rafa Nadal in the semi-finals in one of the great matches of recent years. Djokovic inflicted Nadal with only his third loss at Roland Garros and Novak is the only one to beat him twice.
The won has given Novak a 19th career major which places only one behind Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. He now has the first two legs of the calendar year Grand Slam and if he also wins the Olympic gold medal, he could be the first man to win the Golden Slam.
“Everything is possible. I mean, definitely in my case I can say that what I've been through in my career, in my life, this journey has been terrific so far. I've achieved some things that a lot of people thought it would be not possible for me to achieve,” Djokovic said.
“Everything is possible, and I did put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam. But, you know, I was in this position in 2016 as well. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon.
“So obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days' time. I don't have an issue to say that I'm going for the title in Wimbledon. Of course, I am. I was really happy to know that we are going to play Wimbledon this year, considering we haven't played it last year. I've had a great success in the last couple of Wimbledon seasons that were played. I won in '18 and '19 there. Hopefully I can keep that run going.
“I like the grass. Over the years I think I improved on grass, I adjusted my game. Hopefully I can use this confidence that I have right now into Wimbledon, as well. Then let's take it from there.”
Tsitsipas was certainly gutted and disappointed after being so close. He said he could not understand why his game left him after the second set. Some of that also had to do with the fact Djokovic went off court and changed clothes, felt refreshed and lifted his level. But while disappointed, the Greek has plenty of positives. He is the first Greek to reach a major final, this is experience and not a failure and he will move to a career high ranking of four.
“I believe, yes, I'm able to play for titles like this. Despite my loss today, I have faith in my game,” Tsitsipas said. “I very much believe I can get to that point very soon. I was close today. Every opponent is difficult. There's a small difference between the player I played today and the ones from before. But I think with the same attitude and if I don't downgrade myself, I see no reason for me not to be holding that trophy one day.
“I'm happy with the way I performed, the way I tried things, even if they didn't work, considering today as well. I don't think I have regrets. Could have easily cried, but I see no reason for me crying because I tried everything. I couldn't come up with anything better, and now I'm looking forward to the grass court season. I see there is opportunities there for me. I like the grass. I like playing on grass.”
The doubles title went to the homegrown heroes Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert and they defeated Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.