Novak Djokovic created history on Sunday when he captured a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title with a third French Open triumph, reinforcing his case to be crowned the greatest player of all time.
The 36-year-old Serb brushed off an early wobble to defeat Casper Ruud of Norway 7-6 (7/1), 6-3, 7-5 and snap the tie of 22 Slams he shared with career-long rival Rafael Nadal.
“It’s an incredible feeling to win 23. I’m beyond grateful and blessed to be standing here with so many incredible achievements,” said Djokovic as Nadal immediately described his rival’s victory as “an incredible achievement”.
Victory for the third time in Paris, after 2016 and 2021, adds to his 10 Australian Open titles, seven at Wimbledon and three at the US Open.
Djokovic is the first man to win all four majors at least three times and is once again halfway to the first calendar Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.
“Your skill and unwavering mental fortitude on all surfaces is astonishing,” tweeted Laver.
Only Margaret Court and Serena Williams in women’s tennis have managed to rack up 23 Grand Slam titles. Court’s all-time mark of 24 will now be in his sights at Wimbledon next month.
There is little sign of Djokovic slowing down. He is now the oldest French Open champion but 11 of his Slam trophies have now been won after he turned 30.
On Monday, he will reclaim the world number ranking and start his 388th week in top spot.
“Many congrats on this amazing achievement. 23 is a number that just a few years back was impossible to think about, and you made it! Enjoy it with your family and team!” tweeted Nadal, a 14-time Roland Garros winner who missed this year’s tournament through injury.
Ruud added sportingly: “Novak, another day, another record for you. And another day you rewrite tennis history once again.”
The sense of Sunday’s occasion certainly attracted sports A-listers.
NFL legend Tom Brady watched from the Djokovic box, football stars Kylian Mbappe and Zlatan Ibrahimovic sat side by side in the VIP area which also accommodated former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, a regular this weekend.
Highlights of French Open 2023 Final
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