With a record 23 Grand Slam victories, Novak Djokovic stood tall at the top of the men’s tennis world. The 36-year-old then reminded his rivals that there are still many more to come and announced Wimbledon would be his lone grass-court event this summer.
In addition to confirming Wimbledon will be his only appearance on a grass court this summer, Novak Djokovic, who won his 23rd Grand Slam at the French Open, says he will leave the GOAT debate for someone else to handle.
Since winning his first Grand Slam tournament at the Australian Open in 2008, Novak Djokovic has been trying to catch up to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the record books. Nevertheless, after winning his 23rd trophy at the French Open, Djokovic has now passed both men.
Djokovic’s victory over Casper Ruud puts him on par with Serena Williams, and at Wimbledon next month, he has a chance to surpass Margaret Court’s all-time singles record.
Being the best male player of all time is now all but impossible to argue, and at 36, having won six of the previous eight major tournaments he has participated in, Djokovic is more dominant than ever.
“I don’t want to say that I am the greatest because I feel it’s disrespectful towards all the great champions in different eras of our sport that was played in a completely different way than it is played [on Sunday].
“So I leave those kinds of discussions of who is the greatest to someone else. I have, of course, huge faith and confidence and belief in myself and for everything that I am and who I am and what I am capable of doing.
“I feel incredibly proud, fulfilled. Of course the journey is still not over. I feel, if I’m winning slams, why even think about ending the career that already has been going on for 20 years?
“I still feel motivated, I still feel inspired to play the best tennis at these tournaments the most. I look forward to Wimbledon.
“The grass season is around the corner, so for me it’s going to be only Wimbledon in the plans. I will move to London quite soon and then train and get ready for another Grand Slam.”
Djokovic entered Paris without having won a clay-court championship this year, but he once again proved that his greatest skill is undoubtedly his ability to perform at his best when it matters the most.
Goran Ivanisevic, Djokovic’s coach, has witnessed it all before. According to the former Wimbledon champion: “He has this software in his head that he can switch when a Grand Slam comes.
“Grand Slam is a different sport compared to other tournaments. The day we arrived here, he was better, he was more motivated, he was more hungry.”
In attendance were Mike Tyson, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Olivier Giroud, Mike Brady, Kylian Mbappe, and Zlatan Ibrahim. After celebrating with his supporters, Djokovic apologised for “torturing” them during his on-court speech.
“He is not an easy guy,” Ivanisevic said. “Especially when something’s not going his way. But we are here to put our back [for him] and to get beaten.
“He was torturing us, taking our nails off. A lot more things, but I cannot tell you that. But we are still here, we’re alive. My heart is still OK. I’m an old man, I need to be careful of my heart.
“I’m very proud of him, especially the last two matches. He’s unbelievable, and he’s still moving like a cat on the court. He’s there. Like a ninja, he’s everywhere.
“He takes the legs, then he takes your soul, then he digs your grave and you have a funeral and you’re dead. Bye-bye. Thank you for coming.”
Ruud, who was defeated by Carlos Alcaraz at the US Open last summer, has joined the unwelcome club of players who have lost their first three Grand Slam finals, which also includes Andy Murray, Ivan Lendl, and Dominic Thiem.
The Norwegian expressed confidence in having returned to the final despite a rocky start to the season and his own uncertainties, saying: “I think this is perhaps the most meaningful final that I reached.
“Here I sort of proved that whatever happened last year is not a one-time case. Even for next year when we come back to Roland Garros, people are going to look, ‘Oh, Casper didn’t just make one final but he made it twice’.
“Probably going to plant some respect in my opponents’ eyes and hopefully I can build on that, and one day I’m going to try to obviously aim for a slam title. That’s my biggest goal, my biggest dream in my career and in my life. It’s been close – close but no cigar.