The great players leave a trail of records behind them, depositing them like waves on the shore, creating a high point that others can reach for or wash away.
After Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and now Novak Djokovic, Djokovic set a new men’s record for the most grand slam titles with his 23rd victory in the French Open final against Casper Ruud.
Finally, the record may now settle with Djokovic after years of shifting between the “Big Three.” While Federer retired last year, Nadal will retire at the end of the next year due to injuries that prevented him from competing at this year’s French Open. His dominance over grand slam tournaments shows no sign of diminishing.
Notwithstanding Ruud breaking him in his most memorable help round of the match, Djokovic generally appeared to be in charge, especially in the wake of winning a finely ready, overwhelming opening set that endured almost an hour and a half.
What’s more, two sets later, encompassed by other extraordinary competitors – Tom Brady, Kylian Mbappé and Zlatan Ibrahimović were all in the group – Djokovic affirmed his status as the best men’s tennis player ever.
Novak Djokovic originally tended to the group in French, wearing a custom hoodie with “23” weaved on his chest, prior to talking in English to tell Ruud he was “quite possibly of the best character on the visit.”
He continued: My team, my family, my children, and my parents are all present; my two brothers are not, but I adore them greatly. You are aware of the difficulties we have encountered, including the daily challenges.
I’m aware that I can be a nightmare. I need to thank you above all else for persistence and resistance and that sticks out. I really was torturing you, so I really appreciate you supporting me and believing in me.
Djokovic has crawled gradually into the untouched extraordinary discussion, his most memorable huge homerun wins interspersing a portion of 10 years of Nadal and Federer’s strength when he was apparently bound to be the oddball, the one lamentable to have a place with similar time as them.
Djokovic, on the other hand, slowly but surely emerged as the dominant player on tour as their powers waned and injuries took root. His fitness, his return of serve, and his capacity to force his opponent to play just one more shot rendered him virtually unbeatable.
Following the match, Nadal tweeted, “Many congrats on this amazing achievement.” 23 is a number that only a couple of years back was difficult to ponder, and you made it! Have fun with your loved ones and teammates!
Djokovic is respected but perhaps not loved in the same way as the other two members of the “Big Three,” whereas Federer and Nadal are defined by each other and their rivalry and friendship are intertwined.
His vocation has not been without discussion. If he hadn’t chosen to stay unvaccinated against Covid-19, he might have already won 23 grand slams. Due to the countries’ requirements that travelers be vaccinated against the virus, he was deported from Australia prior to the Australian Open in 2022 and missed the US Open that same year.
He now owns more than just the grand slam records. He has burned through 387 weeks as the world No.1, outperforming Steffi Graff in February to establish another standard. After winning the French Open this year, he is back at the top of the world rankings. In contrast, Federer holds the men’s record for the most weeks spent atop the rankings in a row, with 237.
Throughout their careers, each of the “Big Three” has become associated with a different surface: Federer with Wimbledon’s grass courts, Nadal with Roland Garros’ clay courts, and Djokovic with the hard courts at the US Open and Australian Open.
Djokovic became the first male player to win each grand slam at least three times by winning on Sunday, however, demonstrating his dominance on all surfaces. Djokovic moves closer to completing the “Calendar Slam” by winning all four major tournaments in a single year, a feat he has yet to achieve alongside Federer and Nadal. He also became the oldest person to win the French Open.
An impressive start by Ruud
Ruud started the match off well, breaking Djokovic at the third opportunity in the Serb’s first service game and quickly taking a 3-0 lead, despite all the talk about Djokovic before the match.
Djokovic, on the other hand, showed the qualities that have propelled him to the top of the sport by coming back from a 28-shot rally and holding despite giving up a break point to tie the match at 4-4.
Although it appeared as though momentum was shifting, Ruud clung on and won the point with a between-the-legs shot that brought the raucous crowd to its feet. The first set remained poised throughout the tiebreak.
Djokovic’s game also deteriorated in the tiebreak as the pressure mounted. While Djokovic’s groundstrokes appeared slightly more powerful and his movement slightly sharper, Ruud did nothing wrong and barely made any errors as he romped to a 7-1 victory to win the set after an hour and 21 minutes.
Ruud appeared deflated when he returned to the court, losing the first three games after coming so close to striking during the long first set.
All the energy disseminated from the group as well, as though they were additionally tolerating the inescapable, that Djokovic was just excessively really great for anybody to challenge him.
Djokovic then took a two-set lead, defeating Ruud on the opposite side of the court with a backhand winner to win the set.
However, despite saving a break point early in the third set and securing a promising 0-30 position with Djokovic serving and trailing 3-4, Ruud was powerless against his opponent’s 22 victories in the final set.
Djokovic eventually broke Ruud late in the third set to take a 6-5 lead. As he fell to the ground to celebrate a day that broke records, Djokovic held on to win a famous victory.