Results of the 2023 French Open: Novak Djokovic defeats Casper Ruud to win the Paris title and his 23rd major.
Novak Djokovic demonstrated his prowess once more, overcoming a shaky start to win a men’s record 23rd Grand Slam title in the French Open final against Norway’s Casper Ruud.
Djokovic, 36, was far from his best in the early rounds, but his performance in a first-set tie-break set the ground for a 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 7-5 victory.
The Serb now has the exclusive lead in men’s majors, ahead of Rafael Nadal.
He is also the only man to have won all four majors at least three times.
Djokovic’s victory on the Paris clay brings him level with Serena Williams in terms of Grand Slam trophies, with just Margaret Court ahead of him with 24.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate to win 23 Grand Slams in my life,” added Djokovic, who also won the French Open in 2016 and 2021.
“I was seven years old when I dreamed of winning Wimbledon and becoming world number one.” I’m extremely grateful and privileged to be standing here.
“I believe I have the ability to shape my own destiny.” I want to tell every young kid that if you want a brighter future, you can make it happen.”
Nadal paid respect to his long-time adversary shortly after Djokovic won.
“Many congratulations on this amazing achievement, 23 is a number that was unthinkable just a few years ago and you made it,” the Spaniard wrote.
Reaction to Djokovic’s record-tying 23rd men’s major triumph Djokovic will have the opportunity to tie Court’s record at Wimbledon next month – a venue where he has previously won seven times and will be the favorite to equal Roger Federer’s record total of men’s titles.
As Ruud pulled a forehand wide on the second championship point, Djokovic immediately dropped flat on his back in celebration.
Djokovic raced up to his support box after a commiserating hug with his opponent, where he celebrated with coach Goran Ivanisevic, wife Jelena, his two daughters, parents Dijana and Srdjan, and NFL legend Tom Brady.
Djokovic’s victory will also return him to the top of the world rankings.
Fourth seed Ruud, who has lost all three of his major finals, praised Djokovic on “another day, another record”.
“It’s another day where you rewrite tennis history,” he said to his opponent. It’s difficult to put into words how wonderful you are and what an inspiration you are.”
Djokovic fulfills his destiny date.
Djokovic has made no secret of his desire to win more major titles than fellow greats Nadal and Federer, and now was his chance.
He surpassed the pair with 20 victories at Wimbledon in 2021, but dropped behind Nadal after skipping the 2022 Australian Open due to a dispute over his Covid-19 immunization status, which resulted in his deportation.
Nadal extended his lead by winning the French Open last year, but Djokovic has stormed ahead after winning three of the last four Grand Slams.
Even before 14-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from this year’s tournament due to injury, Djokovic was widely regarded as the favorite, despite his own medical issues.
The other key challenger was Spain’s top seed Carlos Alcaraz, but Djokovic upset him in the semi-finals after the 20-year-old had body cramps from the stress of facing one of the all-time greats.
In the early stages of Sunday’s final against Ruud, Djokovic appeared more apprehensive.
The third seed was stiff and tight, making a number of unforced errors as Ruud drove him deep in the court and trailed 4-2 in the opening set.
However, Djokovic increased in stature as the opening set wore out.
Djokovic utilized all of his immense experience to dominate the tie-break as Ruud wilted in front of a star-studded crowd that included French footballer Kylian Mbappe and British actor Hugh Grant – and from that point on, there was only one likely outcome.
Following Djokovic’s relatively swift 48-minute second set victory, the third set remained finely poised until the Serb turned up the pressure at another critical moment.
At 5-5, Ruud was put on the back foot by a blistering backhand winner, with the Norwegian committing a blunder before two more great winners from the Serb set him up to serve for the title.
Djokovic stormed to a 40-0 lead and, despite pulling a forehand wide on the first championship point was little anticlimactic, he made more history at the second attempt.