Novak Djokovic climbed Everest and won the French Open, beginning what could be a (late spring and) summer where he cements his place as the greatest male tennis player in history.
Djokovic rallied past Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday in the first five-set French Open final since the pre-Rafael Nadal era in 2004. That marathon effort came two days after Djokovic conquered 13-time Roland Garros champion Nadal in the semifinals.
Djokovic, 34, earned his 19th Grand Slam singles title, moving one shy of the male record shared by Roger Federer and Nadal. He became the first man in the Open Era (since 1968) to win all four majors twice.
Djokovic’s victory also marked the sixth comeback by anyone from two sets down in an Open Era Grand Slam final, five of them coming in Paris. He denied Tsitsipas, a 22-year-old bidding to become the first man of the ATP-branded “Next Gen” era to win a Slam.
Djokovic also survived being two sets down in the fourth round against 19-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti.
“I like to play young guys in best-of-five, because I feel even if they are leading a set or two sets to love as it was the case today, I still like my chances,” Djokovic said after Musetti retired down 4-0 in the fifth. “I’m physically fit, and I know how to wear my opponent down. … I’ve won most of the five-setters I have played in this tournament and in my career, so I think that experience helps.”
Now Djokovic heads to Wimbledon in two weeks with a chance to tie Federer and Nadal. After that, he can complete the career Golden Slam at the Tokyo Olympics. Then in September, he could break the men’s Slams record and become the first man to win a calendar Golden Slam.
Maybe that’s looking too far ahead, but he passed the toughest test of them all in Paris. Djokovic became the first man to beat Nadal at the French Open and win the tournament.
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Novak Djokovic wins French Open; Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal Slams record in sight originally appeared on NBCSports.com