Matilde Neruda (R) cries before the coffin of her husband, Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize winner in Literature in 1971, who died in the early hours of September 24 at the age of 69, in Santiago, Chile, Sep. 25, 1973. EFE-EPA FIlE/UPI

Djokovic wins French Open, his 23rd Grand Slam title

Paris, June 11 (EFE).- Serbia’s Novak Djokovic made history on Sunday by winning the French Open men’s singles final, his 23rd Grand Slam title and the most of any man in the history of tennis, defeating Norwegian challenger Casper Ruud 7-6(1), 6-3, 7-5.

Djokovic, 36, thus becomes the first man to win at least three titles at each of the four major tourneys, and his 23rd Grand Slam win on the clay court at Roland Garros both puts him one trophy ahead of Spain’s Rafael Nadal and enables him to regain his world No. 1 ranking, snatching it from Nadal’s countryman Carlos Alcaraz.

The Belgrade native dispatched the 24-year-old Ruud in three hours and 13 minutes for his third French Open title, having won the Paris match in 2016 and in 2021.

Ruud, ranked No. 4 in the world, started off well but was only really able to pose a threat to the Serb in the first set, going up by three games before Djokovic could secure a win, but then the Serb battled back to 4-4 before going ahead for the duration.

After narrowly prevailing in the first set, however, it was clear that Djokovic was in the driver’s seat for the rest of the match.

He’s has had an irregular season, but the victory was Djokovic’s second Grand Slam title this year, having earlier won the Australian Open.

The remaining two Grand Slam tourneys this year are Wimbledon and the US Open.It appears, however, that – despite the loss – Ruud has a bright future ahead, given that this was his second consecutive year in which he made it to the French Open final.

Last year, he was defeated there by Nadal.Djokovic’s win also put him ahead of Germany’s Steffi Graf and ties him with US dynamo Serena Williams in the Grand Slam victory tally.

His next goal will be to surpass Australia’s Margaret Court, who won 24 Grand Slams between 1960 and 1973.

The architecture of the match included Djokovic battling back from down three games to zip in the first set to the point of forcing a tiebreak, which he then easily won.

In the second set, the Serb went ahead 3-0 and ultimately took the set 6-3, while in the third set Ruud seemed to catch fire temporarily and a pitched battle developed between the two men until Djokovic managed to break the Norwegian’s service in the 11th game and hold the advantage from then on until the final 7-5 result.

Next, Djokovic will be playing on the grass at Wimbledon in July in his ongoing bid to achieve a “calendar grand slam” by winning all four majors in a single year, a feat not equaled since Rod Laver achieved it in 1969.

The Serb will also be on the hunt to tie Roger Federer’s men’s record of eight singles titles at the All England Club. EFE