Serb captures record 23rd major to pull away from rival Nadal
He’s done it! Novak Djokovic has captured a 23rd Grand Slam title to stand alone at the top of the men’s all-time leaderboard of most majors won in tennis history.
No longer tied with long-time rival Rafael Nadal, who has 22, Djokovic has equaled Serena Williams’ Grand Slam tally and is now just one behind record-holder Margaret Court.
At 36 years and 20 days, Djokovic has become the oldest Roland-Garros men’s champion and is the first man in history to win each Grand Slam tournament at least three times.
Competing in his 34th career major final, Djokovic defeated the fourth-seeded Casper Ruud 7-6(1), 6-3, 7-5 to add a third Roland-Garros crown to his resume.
In front of a star-studded audience that included Tom Brady – who was in Djokovic’s box – Kylian Mbappe, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hugh Grant, and Olivier Giroud, the Serbian record-breaker picked up a fifth win over
Ruud in as many meetings and ensured his return to the top of the world rankings.
Ruud held at love to start the match while Djokovic’s opening service game lasted over 10 minutes and saw the Norwegian break serve on this third opportunity en route to a 3-0 lead.
Djokovic struck back in game seven, breaking Ruud on a netted overhead from the No.4 seed (Djokovic had missed two of his own earlier in the match) to narrow his deficit to 3-4.
The Serb had to save a break point in the following game before holding to level the contest at 4-4.
Ruud stopped the bleeding after losing three games in a row, saving a break point before inching ahead 5-4.
After 73 minutes of play, the opening set fittingly went to a tiebreak, which Djokovic immediately started with a minibreak, thanks to a killer forehand winner on the run. He conceded just one point in the breaker to take a one-set lead in one hour and 21 minutes.
Djokovic started the second set with a break and was soon up 3-0. That was all he needed to comfortably secure a two-set advantage on the two-hour 13-minute mark.
Ruud and Djokovic were neck and neck in the third but a crucial break in the 11th game gave the Serb the advantage he needed and he never looked back, cementing his name further in the history books.