Djokovic Overtakes Nadal By Claiming 23rd Grand Slam.
French Open: "I was a seven-year-old dreaming that I could win Wimbledon and become number one in the world one day. I am beyond grateful and blessed to be standing here with so many incredible achievements", says Djokovic.
Noval Djokovic lay on his back, spreadeagled on the ochre-hued stage, looking up at a Parisian sky that pronounced him the 'Greatest Of All Time'. The 36-year old, who has defied age and drowned out competition across generations, closed out a 7-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over the 24-year-old Casper Ruud. Djokovic then pulled on a specially designed No. 23 jacket that sparked the superhero in him. Only that he was the statement on Sunday. Djokovic's record 23rd Grand Slam crown, that took him one ahead of Rafael Nadal, was achieved on Court Philippe-Chartier, a piece of earth no one has owned more unreservedly than the Spaniard, who has won here 14 times.
The Serb's third French Open title, with which he eclipsed Nadal as the oldest champion here, also made him the first man in history to win each Grand Slam tournament at least three times. Djokovic's 21st consecutive match win in a major saw him reclaim the world no. 1 ranking. On Monday, he begins a record extending 388th week atop the pile. Clutching the Musketeers' cup, Djokovic couldn't stop smiling. He had reason. "I want to thank my team, my family, my kids, my wife and my parents", Djokovic said. " You guys know what we have been through, the trials and tribulations. Thank you for your patience. I appreciate you being my rock, my support. "
The then Serb sent out a special message. "My kids are here and I think they are enjoying, I have a message for young people", he said. " I was a seven-year-old dreaming of winning Wimbledon, I am blessed to be standing here with so many records. I believe I had the power to create my own destiny. Be in the present moment and create your destiny". The match didn't get off to a familiar passage, Rudd took a 3-0 lead, breaking Djokovic in a 13-minute long second game. Djokovic's backhand, arguably the sharpest shot in tennis under pressure, was contrarian. Then, as the Serb's nerves played out, perhaps in those backhands that had too much on them, the 36-year-old struck back in the seventh game when Rudd placed a high ball at the bottom of the net.
Djokovic took the first set in a tie break where he strung together his cleanest play of the first 81-minutes of action. In his six tie-breaks of this clay court fortnight, Djokovic hasn't made a single unforced error. Hardly surprising coming as it does from the man who owns the tie-break record in ATP history. In the second tier of seating on Court Philippe-Chartrier a band played. There were trumpeters with bowler hats, hitting high brassy notes. The drum clap on loop accompanied by chants of let's go Nole, let's go', or was that Casper, it was hard to tell. There was another match being played in the galleries. The second and third sets were all about the 24-year old keeping pace with the 36-year old. Djokovic broke a battling Rudd in the 11th game of the third set before serving his way to history. Djokovic took home 2.3 million euros and the Musketeers' cup, and Rudd was richer by 1.1 million euros.
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