Djokovic lands record-breaking 23rd major title after French Open triumph

Jonathan Davies in French Open 11 Jun 2023
Djokovic defeated Ruud in straight sets at Roland Garros (Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo)

Novak Djokovic claimed his record-breaking 23rd grand slam title after beating Casper Ruud for his third French Open triumph.

The Serb surpassed Rafael Nadal to become the most successful man in major singles history, while also regaining his status as world number one as he overcame Ruud in straight sets 7-6(1), 6-3, 7-5 at Roland Garros.

Watched by several sporting greats including Kylian Mbappe, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Tom Brady and Mike Tyson on Court Philippe-Chatrier, Djokovic recovered from a slow start and became the first man to win each grand slam title at least three times.

The 36-year-old is also the oldest champion at the season’s clay-court major, where only Nadal (14) and Bjorn Borg (seven) have now lifted La Coupe des Mousquetaires on more occasions.

Djokovic was appearing in his record-equalling 34th grand slam final – level with Chris Evert – and seventh at Roland Garros, but he was broken in his opening service game after sending a smash long.

Appearing in his second straight French Open final, Ruud looked to capitalise as he opened a commanding 4-1 lead.

But the Norwegian, who was aiming to become the first Scandinavian major winner since Thomas Johansson at the 2002 Australian Open, was punished for not doing so.

Djokovic broke back in game seven as the first set eventually went to a tie-break, which he subsequently dominated 7-1 to land the opening blow.

The third seed built on his momentum, winning seven of the first eight points in the second set as he broke early before holding to double his lead.

Ruud was desperate to extend his third grand slam final appearance in three events, and the fourth seed looked like he would when he edged 5-4 ahead in the third set.

But Djokovic was not to be denied. A timely break to love in game 11 presented him the opportunity to seal the deal, which he did by holding to 15 to move into a league of his own in men’s grand slam singles tennis.

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