Novak Aims For 23rd Major, Rudd First.

French Open: Serb will be the first man to win all majors three times, and climb atop World rankings if he wins French Open final.

Jun 11, 2023 - 18:07
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Novak Aims For 23rd Major, Rudd First.
Casper Ruud.

Novak Djokovic is on a trifecta trial at Roland Garros. A record 23rd major crown, the first man to win each of the four majors at least three times and a return to the world No. 1 ranking. A third French Open title would put Djokovic halfway to the calender Grand Slam. The promise and the possibilities. The Serb, however, pressed the pause button on the road ahead, saying that it was a conversation for tomorrow. Casper Rudd-patient and preserving-is the first order of business in the final on Sunday. The 24-year-old Norwegian, in his second successive final here and third at majors, has played Djokovic four times but has never taken a set off the Serb. The last time they played was in November, in the ATP Finals. 

Ruud, who came into the clay court major looking for form- having only had a decent run of matches at Estoril in the 250 Series where he won the title, and then in Rome Masters, where he made the semifinal-has played himself into the championship. Ruud's preparation for the final started the moment he got off the court after the semifinal and got on the bike to cool down. He followed that up with an ice bath. "The most important thing is to be ready physically", the Norwegian said. " You don't want to not play your best if you are physically not ready in a way, if you have pain or are tired. Mentally I am just going to enjoy a good night's sleep. I think sleep is very important".

The number 4 seed addressed the mentality. "I am not talking to talk too much to too many people", he said. " Just going to stay in my bubble and see if I can bring my A Game. There are only a few times a year you have the chance to play a Slam final, so you better make it worth it". For Djokovic, in his 34th major final, it is routine. "I put myself in another really ideal position to win a Grand Slam", he said. " That's basically what still drives me, when I wake up in the morning and think about the season and think about things I want to achieve. The Grand Slams are what drives me the most".

"I will play someone that has already been in Grand Slam finals but never won a title", Djokovic, in his seventh Roland Garros final, said. " Experience is on my side, but does it win matches? I don't think so. I just have to recover well, be prepared for another long battle". "I hope that I will play my best tennis on Sunday", said Djokovic, who authored a tactical masterclass against Carlos Alcaraz, refusing to give the Spaniard the pace he so relishes. " The only thing I can say now is that I am very focused. History is always something that's hovering over me, but I am very happy to be in this position to write history of this sport, but I am just thinking about winning the next match".

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