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French Open final LIVE: Novak Djokovic makes tennis history with record-breaking grand slam win

Djokovic becomes the first man to reach 23 grand slam titles after beating Casper Ruud in straight sets in the Roland Garros final

Jamie Braidwood
Sunday 11 June 2023 19:07 BST
Moment Novak Djokovic lays down on tennis court after historic French Open win

Novak Djokovic has made tennis history by winning a men’s record 23rd grand slam title after beating Casper Ruud in the French Open final at Roland Garros.

Djokovic defeated Ruud 7-6 6-3 7-5 to win his third French Open crown and move ahead of his great rival Rafael Nadal to take the outright lead in the men’s grand slam race for the first time. The victory moves the 36-year-old Serbian level with Serena Williams on 23 major titles, one short of Margaret Court’s overall record of 24.

Djokovic also becomes the oldest ever French Open champion at 36 and is now halfway to completing the calendar grand slam - a feat not achieved in men’s tennis since Rod Laver won all four majors in a single year in 1969. Djokovic will head to Wimbledon next month looking to equal Roger Federer’s men’s record of eight singles titles at the All England Club.

Follow live reaction from the French Open final below after Djokovic made history at Roland Garros.


French Open LIVE: Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

The roof is CLOSING on Court Philippe Chatrier! There is set to be rain this afternoon in Paris and the tournament have decided to not take the risk.

That’s an interesting development and will create new conditions for the players. The roof has been open all fortnight at Roland Garros.

Jamie Braidwood11 June 2023 13:44

French Open LIVE: Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

Novak Djokovic on facing boos from the French Open crowd during his semi-final win against Carlos Alcaraz:

“I don’t mind. It’s not the first; probably not the last. I’ll just keep winning.”

Jamie Braidwood11 June 2023 13:29

French Open LIVE: Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

Alexander Zverev, who lost to Casper Ruud in the semi-finals, believes the Norwegian facing Djokovic when the 36-year-old is going for his record grand slam title could be the “best” time to play the Serbian.

“I think it couldn’t be better, to be honest,” Zverev said. “Novak is one of the best players in the world, that’s for sure, but when you’re on the brink of history I think that adds a little bit of pressure. You remember the US Open final he had with Medvedev after beating me in the semis still. The pressure, you know, we are all human. Novak is human. We all feel it.

“So I think for him, for Casper, that’s the best scenario, to be honest.”

My personal opinion is Djokovic is not human...

Jamie Braidwood11 June 2023 13:14

French Open LIVE: Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

Novak Djokovic on reaching a 34th grand slam final and putting himself in the position to win a record 23rd title...

“I put myself in another really ideal position to win a Grand Slam. 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 won the first Grand Slam this year, and now I’m in the finals of a second one, so I couldn’t ask for more than that.

“As far as all the records that are on the line, again, it’s flattering, it’s great, but, you know, I need to win, you know, in order to make sure to be on that list.

“So I know what I need to do. With my team, we are still locked in. It’s great, but we are already thinking about the next opponents, and hopefully get a title.”

Jamie Braidwood11 June 2023 12:59

French Open LIVE: Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

Iga Swiatek is the French Open champion once again after prevailing in a thrilling battle against Karolina Muchova to defend her Roland Garros title in almost three hours. The 22-year-old claimed her third French Open crown in four years and fourth grand slam overall with a 6-2 5-7 6-4 victory over the surprise finalist Muchova, who pushed Swiatek into the third set at Roland Garros for the first time this tournament.

The victory adds to Swiatek’s recent dominance at the French Open and cements her position as the best in the world. The Pole becomes the first player since Justine Henin in 2007 to win back-to-back Roland Garros titles, while Swiatek also becomes the youngest player to win four grand slam titles since Serena Williams.

Iga Swiatek is creating a new French Open dynasty

The world No 1 was pushed by Karolina Muchova in a thrilling Roland Garros final but prevailed in three sets to successfully defend her title

Jamie Braidwood11 June 2023 12:44

French Open LIVE: Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

Ruud reached last year’s French Open final but was blown away by Rafael Nadal in straight sets as the Spaniard won his 14th Roland Garros title. Ruud says he will be better prepared this time, as he plays in his third grand slam final.

“It’s just a matter of not thinking like, I ‘need’ to win this match, there’s a really big ‘need’ for me to win this match,” Ruud said. “This is a word that I try to sort of avoid. Obviously in the beginning of the tournament, that’s sort of what you feel more and what you think about more, like this is important to try to get this win and get going in the tournament.

“But now I’m in the final. It’s been a great two weeks no matter what happens on Sunday, and I’m going to of course give it my all, but sometimes you play your best tennis when you don’t think too much. It just goes on automatic mode.

“If you always think, like, oh, I’m close to winning or you can sort of tense up and you can be nervous. Maybe that’s what happened with Carlos today, I’m not sure. But when you’re thinking too much and feeling pressure, maybe you’re not able to breathe in the proper way and calm your body, it’s easy to stress and overthink the situation.

“Just going to try to go out there and know that it’s going to be a long match, marathon match, and play point by point, give it my all, and let’s see how that goes.”

Jamie Braidwood11 June 2023 12:29

French Open LIVE: Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

Novak Djokovic has won all four meetings with Casper Ruud and is yet to drop a set against the Norwegian.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge,” Ruud said. “I have never beaten him before. So I’m going to have to try to come up with a better game plan and just know I’m going to have to play my best game, my A game, my best level that I’ve ever played if I want to have a chance against him.

“I’m going to try to do that, and try to play without too much pressure. That’s sort of what I did today, just went out, didn’t think too much, didn’t want to show too many emotions, either good or bad ones. I was just in the zone. Let’s see if I can keep this sort of feeling and mentality in for the final.”

Jamie Braidwood11 June 2023 12:14

French Open LIVE: Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

In the end, Novak Djokovic was right: Carlos Alcaraz may have won their only previous meeting, but best-of-five at a grand slam was always going to be different.

So it proved. For well over two hours, the most-anticipated match of the year lived up to the hype. Djokovic and Alcaraz traded blows and held the French Open crowd in their spell. Djokovic needed to be at his highest level to take the first set 6-3, then Alcaraz found his spark and raised his own game to win the second 7-5. A third set of equal brilliance beckoned, as did a fourth and even a fifth. Djokovic, 36, won 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1.

But then Alcaraz stopped. After jumping on a Djokovic serve, he pulled up and felt his lower right leg. His calf had seized painfully, and the cramps began to spread around his body. “Not only the legs,” Alcaraz said. “The arms, as well.” It was a different match from then. Alcaraz refused to quit but it was a non-contest. The Spaniard, so thrilling when in full flight, moved like a bird whose wings had been clipped.

It is perhaps only now that Alcaraz and everyone else realises how different a proposition facing Djokovic at a grand slam really is.

What happened to Carlos Alcaraz? It was all down to Novak Djokovic

Alcaraz was the favourite to win the French Open but suffered due to the tension and stress of an epic battle against the 22-time grand slam champion

Jamie Braidwood11 June 2023 11:59

French Open LIVE: Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

Casper Ruud on facing Novak Djokovic in the final: “It’s going to be tough, for sure. He’s playing for his 23rd. I’m playing for my first. So I’m going to just try to play without pressure and just try to enjoy the moment.

“I think that was my mentality last year, as well, and it didn’t go my way. Obviously I would like to try to do better than last year. Let’s see if I have learned something from the two previous ones that I played last year.

“It just feels great to be back. I didn’t think or necessarily believe in the beginning of the tournament that I was going to be in the final. I gave it my best, of course, in every match. Took one match at a time.

“It’s going to be toughest challenge of the year for me, to play Novak. We’re going to do our best to be ready and play our best level.”

Jamie Braidwood11 June 2023 11:45

French Open LIVE: Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud

Novak Djokovic on playing for a men’s record 23rd grand slam title: “Pressure is always on my shoulders, so it’s not going to be different. But it’s part of my sport, part of my life, all that I do. I think that having pressure is a privilege. But it’s a source of motivation, as well. Great motivation to play well and to reach Sunday.

“Before the tournament I was saying that of course for me Roland Garros is a Grand Slam, and it’s the most important tournament on this surface. So I was well-prepared so that I would be in this position so that I would be ready for this battle, battle to win this other Grand Slam title.

“I hope that I’ll play my best tennis level on Sunday. The only thing I can say now is that I’m very focused. History is always something that’s hovering over me, but I’m very happy to be in this position to write history of this sport, but I’m just thinking about winning the next match.”

(Getty Images)
Jamie Braidwood11 June 2023 11:40

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