Novak Djokovic wins a historic French Open title to complete his Career Slam
After failing three times before, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic finally fulfilled his ambition of completing a much-coveted Career Slam by clinching his first ever French Open title in Paris on Sunday. The Serb came back from a set down to prevail over the second seed Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to become the eighth man in history to accomplish a Career Slam, joining the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal from the current generation.
The 29-year-old, who won the Australian Open title too this year, added to the Wimbledon and the US Open crowns he captured last year for another rare achievement. With his latest win, he engraved his name in record books as the third man ever to hold all four Major titles at the same time, following legends Don Budge and Rod Laver.
Djokovic had earlier reached the French Open final in 2012 and 2014 when he fell to Nadal and last year when he lost to Stan Wawrinka. This title is the 12th Major glory of his illustrious career, tying him with Australia’s former World No. 1 Roy Emerson.
Andy Murray did not make an auspicious start in his quest for his first French Open title as he got broken to love in the very first game of the match. But things changed pretty quickly for the World No. 1 as he was the one who looked dodgy on his movement and very nervous soon after.
The forehands lost their sheen as Djokovic continued to make errors from that wing. The two-time Major winner capitalized on his tentative play and produced an incredible lob to break back. The set looked to be going totally in one direction as the Serb could not control his mounting unforced errors and the Scot soon surged to a 4-1 lead.
Murray continued his confident play to wrap up the opening set 6-3.
It was a complete turnaround in the second set. The top seed left behind all the shakiness that he had in the opener and made a fresh, new start looking more like the man who had dominated this season.
After holding his serve, he kept pressing hard on Andy’s service game. It paid off as the second seed cracked under pressure and soon the Serb was up 3-0.
Djokovic played an absolutely brilliant second set. Brimming with confidence, he broke Murray again in the sixth game, cantering to a 6-1 win.
A positive start was vital for Andy Murray if he wanted to have any chance of lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires and he made exactly that. He pushed the top seed to deuce but failed to make the breakthrough as the score was level at 1-1.
The fired-up Serb carved out two break points after thumping a forehand passing shot off Murray’s half-volley. He did not need a long time to grab that golden chance as he broke Murray when the Brit dumped a volley into the net.
Emboldened by his aggressive play, the resurgent world no. 1 looked more sure of himself as Murray presented a despondent picture. A passive approach dashed all his hopes with Djokovic now thoroughly dictating play.
He secured one more break of serve to slam shut the third set 6-2. With four break points wasted in that set, Murray will surely rue missing his chances.
The match looked to be slipping away from Murray’s grip fast as the Serb pounced early and soared to a 2-0 lead. It was a mirror image of the third set where the top seed appeared to be cruising comfortably, riding on his stupendous anticipation skills and dazzling movement.
He made in-roads into Murray’s service game yet again to march ahead to 5-2 but that is where the script had a small twist. A rejuvenated Murray suddenly looked more ready to take his chances and he went on a two-game winning streak to close in on 4-5.
Djokovic, clearly feeling the weight of the moment, saw two of his match points getting erased as Murray desperately kept on trying. On his third match point, as Murray’s backhand found the net, Djokovic got the reward that he had been long waiting for.
Later on, the Serb paid tribute to former three-time winner Gustavo Kuerten by drawing a heart on the clay of Philippe Chatrier Court.