Djokovic puts an exclamation mark on GOAT claim

Novak Djokovic has won his third French Open to take his overall tally to 23 Grand Slam singles titles, one ahead of Rafael Nadal and three ahead of Roger Federer on the all-time list.

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Djokovic defeated world no. 4 Casper Ruud 7-6(1), 6-3, 7-5 to claim the title in three hours and 13 minutes.

Ruud had started well and raced to an early lead after breaking Djokovic in a marathon second game.

The Norwegian who was on the cusp of the top ranking when competing for the US Open title in 2022, Ruud was out to stop Djokovic from taking his 23rd Grand Slam title and claim his first.

Ruud consolidated his break for a 3-0 lead before Djokovic finally held serve.

After finding his rythym the world no. 3 broke in the seventh game to get back on serve.

Games went with serve until the players were at 6-6. In the tiebreaker Djokovic cruised to a 7-1 win to take the opening set.

The early stages of the second set was a mirror image of the first with Djokovic getting a break in the second game and then consolidating for a 3-0 lead. Ruud was not able to break back and Djokovic took a commanding 2-0 advantage.

The third set saw both players hold serve until Djokovic broke to love in the 11th game, that came on the back of three winners.

Now with one hand on the trophy it was Djokovic serving for the title. He raced to a 40-0 lead before an unforced error slightly delayed the inevitable win.

After seeing Ruud hit a ball well wide Djokovic fell to the ground to let the moment sink in as he was now the all-time Grand Slam singles leader in the men’s sport.

After the match Ivanisevic spoke about his player.

“Coming to this tournament, he didn’t come with unbelievable confidence and form,” Ivanisevic said. “I was not worried. I said in Monte-Carlo, I don’t count these tournaments. Monte-Carlo, Rome, anything. Only tournament that count is this one.

“He has this software in his head that he can switch when a Grand Slam comes. Grand Slam is a different sport compared to other tournaments. He switch his software. The day we arrived here, he was better, he was more motivated, he was more hungry.

“Every day he played better and better. I thought against [Carlos] Alcaraz [in the semi-finals], one-and-a-half hours he played unbelievable smart and unbelievable tennis. And today he just finished what we started actually in Monte-Carlo, to practise, and now it’s payday. We cash the check.”

“It’s fascinating to see, because sometimes you think, okay, now you have 23. But he’s gonna find, again, some kind of motivation to win 24, maybe 25, who knows where is the end,” he said.

“I don’t know [if the calendar-year Grand Slam is a goal with him. You need to ask him.

“I’m really sorry that Rafa is not here, but I say a long time ago before even I became member of his team that him and Rafa, they’re going to go over 22. I am hoping Rafa coming back winning one more, and Novak is only player who can win calendar Grand Slam. He was one match away two years ago, so he has a chance this year.”

“It’s still long way. But, you know, Grand Slams are the goal. I don’t know how many, but I think he has in his body a lot more.”

Djokovic will now head to Wimbledon as the favourite to defend his title and take his Grand Slam tally to 24.

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