Novak Djokovic won his men’s record 23rd Grand Slam title with a 7-6 (1), 6-3, 7-5 win over Casper Rudd in the French Open final, strengthening his case to be crowned the greatest player of all time.
On Sunday, the 36-year-old Serbian broke a tie with rival Rafael Nadal for the biggest singles trophy in men’s tennis history, a record dating back to the 1800s.
Nadal, the 14-time champion at Roland-Garros, missed this year’s tournament due to injury.
The win goes with Djokovic’s French Open titles in 2016 and 2021, making him the only man with at least three wins at each major event. Since collecting her first Slam trophy at the 2008 Australian Open, she has collected a total of 10 there, seven at Wimbledon and three at the US Open.
Djokovic is once again halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam – winning four majors in one season – something no man has accomplished since Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic came close to pulling off that feat in 2021, when he won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon and made it all the way to the US Open title before losing to Daniil Medvedev.
Only Margaret Court and Serena Williams have won 23 Grand Slam titles in women’s tennis. The all-time mark of 24 on the court will now be in Djokovic’s sights at Wimbledon next month.
“A Grand Slam is a Grand Slam – we have the four biggest tournaments in the history of our sport, tennis. Every single player dreams of being on this stage and winning the trophy at least once in their career. I’m beyond lucky to have won the Grand Slam 23 times in my life,” Djokovic said. Wearing a red jacket with embroidered numbers.
“It’s an incredible, incredible feeling.”
Rudd paid tribute to Djokovic in the post-match ceremony.
“Another day, another record for you,” Rudd said. “One day you will write the history of tennis. It’s hard to explain how incredible this is and what an inspiration you are.”
Djokovic shows no signs of slowing down. He is now the oldest French Open champion, but his 11 Slam trophies were won at the age of 30.
On Monday, he will regain the world number one ranking and begin his 388th week in the top spot.
The feel of Sunday’s event certainly attracted sports A-listers.
US National Football League legend Tom Brady watched from the Djokovic box, while soccer stars Kylian Mbappe and Zlatan Ibrahimovic sat side by side in the VIP area where former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was also a regular this weekend.
Djokovic was playing in his seventh French Open final and boasted a 4-0 career record against Rudd, never dropping a set.
However, the fourth-ranked Norwegian was the more composed of the two early on, with Djokovic flicking an overhead out of the blocks for a 2-0 lead.
Djokovic recovered a break in the seventh game before Rudd, the 2022 runner-up to Nadal, stretched to 3-0 and 4-1 when his opponent buried an easy smash at the net begging for open court. It came at the end of a lung-busting 28-shot rally.
Djokovic missed a break point in the ninth game, tripping on the red clay as he chased down a rude drive.
His frustration grew as he angrily accused umpire Damien Dumussois of rushing the players during substitutions on a heavy, humid afternoon in the French capital.
Fired up, he then raced through the tiebreak to seal the opener with a forehand.
Apparently, it was Djokovic’s sixth tiebreak at the French Open, and in none of them did he make a single unforced error in the 55-point contest.
Despite being 12 years Djokovic’s junior, Rudd, who also lost to Carlos Alcaraz in the 2022 US Open final, suddenly looked cut.
Djokovic broke from 2-0 down in the second set and, despite Ruud saving two set points in the eighth game, the Serb edged closer to his dream.
Rudd saved a break point in the third game of the third set before Djokovic hit a warning for taking too long between points.
But he was not deterred from his march.
Djokovic broke to love at 6-5 and sealed his place in history when Rudd went wide.