French Open : Novak Djokovic beats Casper Ruud to win Paris title and claim 23rd major

Novak Djokovic showed his greatness once again by overcoming a sticky start to win a men’s record 23rd Grand Slam title with victory over Norway’s Casper Ruud in the French Open final.

Djokovic, 36, was far from his best in the initial stages but his quality in a first-set tie-break laid the platform for a 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 7-5 victory.

The Serb moves into the outright lead of men’s majors ahead of Rafael Nadal.

He also becomes the first man to win all four majors at least three times.

Victory on the Paris clay moves Djokovic alongside Serena Williams in terms of Grand Slam titles, with only Margaret Court standing in front of him with 24 majors.

“I’m beyond fortunate to win 23 Grand Slams in my life, it is incredible,” said Djokovic, who also won the French Open in 2016 and 2021.

“I was a seven-year-old dreaming I could win Wimbledon one day and become number one in the world. I’m beyond grateful and and blessed to be standing here.

“I feel I had the power to create my own destiny. I want to say to every young person if you want a better future, you can create it.”

Minutes after Djokovic won, Nadal paid tribute to his long-time rival.

“Many congratulations on this amazing achievement, 23 is a number that just a few years back was impossible to think about and you made it,” the Spaniard wrote.

Djokovic will have the opportunity to tie Court’s record at Wimbledon next month – a place where he has already won seven times and will be the favourite to equal Roger Federer’s record tally of men’s titles.

Djokovic instantly fell flat on his back in celebration as Ruud pulled a forehand wide on the second championship point.

After a commiserating hug with his opponent, Djokovic ran up to his support box where he celebrated with coach Goran Ivanisevic, wife Jelena, his two children, parents Dijana and Srdjan and NFL superstar Tom Brady.

The victory will also see Djokovic return to the top of the world rankings.

Fourth seed Ruud, who has lost all three of his major finals, congratulated Djokovic on “another day, another record”.

Addressing his opponent, he added: “It is another day where you rewrite tennis history. It is tough to explain how great you are and what an inspiration you are.”

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