Sunday saw 36-year-old Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic win the French Open singles title. That title, Djokovic’s third singles title at Roland Garros (he also won there in 2016 and 2021), came from him beating 24-year-old Norwegian Christian Ruud 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, 7-5. And it marked his 23rd Grand Slam singles title, a new men’s record:
Novak Djokovic makes history and breaks a tie for the most Grand Slams in men's tennis history with his 23rd title at the 2022 French Open, taking the outright lead for the first time.
He also ties Serena Williams for 2nd-most slams among men and women in tennis history. pic.twitter.com/z9Lm9uxEP0
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 11, 2023
Male tennis players with the most Grand Slam tournament titles won:
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) June 11, 2023
37-year-old Spaniard Nadal, who Djokovic (seen at top with the French Open trophy Sunday) passed with that win, quickly offered congratulations on Twitter:
Many congrats on this amazing achievement @DjokerNole
23 is a number that just a few years back was imposible to think about, and you made it!
Enjoy it with your family and team! 👏🏻
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) June 11, 2023
And Ruud offered congratulations after his loss:
Casper Ruud on losing to Novak Djokovic:
“Another day, another record for you. Another day you rewrite tennis history once again. It’s tough to explain how incredible it is & how good you are. This probably tastes best out of all. I’m happy to be the 1st one to congratulate you” pic.twitter.com/FoTmsObV6G
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) June 11, 2023
Former NFL quarterback Tom Brady, who was watching from Djokovic’s box, was also quick to offer congratulations:
"One GOAT to another." 🐐
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) June 11, 2023
Many others from across the tennis world also paid tribute to Djokovic’s accomplishment:
This is what Novak Djokovic looked like when I first watched him play against Andy when they were 11. What an incredible career he has gone on to have. Record breaking 23 Grand Slam titles ….. 🐐 ⭐️ 🇷🇸 👏👏👏👏👏@rolandgarros pic.twitter.com/wvfH0wlFFw
— judy murray (@JudyMurray) June 11, 2023
The long climb of Novak Djokovic isn't over — there are more chapters to be written, more titles to be won — but today that climb brings Nole to the mountaintop.
He stands alone in so many ways.#H23TORY
— Matt Zemek (@mzemek) June 11, 2023
Novak Djokovic – the greatest athlete of all-time. A serial winner for 17 years. 23x Major champion. 95 career titles. Record weeks at #1. Winning record vs all his biggest rivals. Only 3x winner of all Grand Slams. Countless amount of records. Machine. Simply, the greatest ever. pic.twitter.com/9MGL8Z22NM
— DanRodenby (@DRodenbyTennis) June 11, 2023
— Eurosport (@eurosport) June 11, 2023
This is quite the accomplishment for Djokovic. And it comes in the middle of an impressive year. He won the Adelaide International in January, then won the Australian Open in February, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final, 6-3, 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-5) to win his 10th title at that tournament.
Since then, Djokovic lost in the semifinals to Daniil Medvedev in the Dubai Tennis Championships in March. He then missed two U.S. events over COVID-19 vaccination rules, and had some clay-court struggles, with his best recent showing before the French Open being a run to the quarterfinals at the Srpska Open in April.
But Djokovic came roaring back into form in this tournament. And he beat world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz (who’s a mere 16 years younger) 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals. And Djokovic’s victory here means he’ll shortly move back up to the No. 1 world ranking. We’ll see where he goes from here, but this was certainly a remarkable performance, and one adding to an amazing career. And it was neat to see Nadal, the player he passed for this record, giving him this tribute.
[Rafael Nadal on Twitter; photo from Susan Mullane/USA Today Sports]