Novak Djokovic points to his temple at the French Open
Novak Djokovic moved clear of Rafael Nadal, with victory at Roland Garros securing him a men’s record 23rd major title
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 28 May-11 June
Coverage: Live text and radio commentaries of selected matches across BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website and app

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 major titles, with only Margaret Court now standing in front of him on 24 Grand Slams.

He will have the opportunity to tie Court’s record at Wimbledon next month – a place where he has already won seven times and will also be the favourite to equal Roger Federer’s title record.

Djokovic delivers on his date with destiny

Having made no secret of his ambition to win more major titles than long-time rivals Nadal and Federer, this was Djokovic’s date with destiny.

He pulled level with the pair on 20 triumphs at Wimbledon in 2021, but fell behind Nadal after missing the 2022 Australian Open following a row over his Covid-19 vaccination status that led to him being deported.

Nadal extended the advantage when he won last year’s French Open but Djokovic has surged ahead after winning three of the past four Grand Slams.

Even before 14-time French Open champion Nadal pulled out of this year’s tournament with injury, Djokovic was considered by many as the favourite, even though his own build-up had been hampered by physical problems.

Spanish top seed Carlos Alcaraz was the other main contender, but Djokovic beat him in the semi-finals after the 20-year-old suffered body cramps caused by the tension of facing one of the all-time greats.

In the early part of Sunday’s final against 24-year-old Ruud, who was aiming for his first major after twice losing finals last year, it was Djokovic who looked more nervous.

Tight and tense, the third seed made a number of unforced errors as Ruud pushed him deep in the court and trailed 4-2 in the first set.

But Djokovic grew in stature as the opener wore on.

With NFL legend Tom Brady cheering on from his support box alongside his family, Djokovic used all of his vast experience to dominate the tie-break as fourth seed Ruud wilted – and from that point on there was only ever going to be one outcome.

More to follow.

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