Novak Djokovic Captures the French Open and a 23rd Grand Slam Title

Novak Djokovic reached the top of the tennis mountain Sunday, dominating Casper Ruud in straight sets to win the French Open men’s singles title for a third time and so much more.

With the most momentous championship of his remarkable career so far, Djokovic has staked his claim to being the greatest male tennis player in history, with a record 23 Grand Slam tournament singles titles.

Djokovic defeated Rudd 7-6 (1), 6-3, 7-5. On his second match point, Djokovic induced Ruud into a final forehand off the court and collapsed on his back. He then knelt in prayer in the middle of the court and headed for the stands to embrace his family and his coaches.

Tournament after tournament, Djokovic has spent most of the last two decades chasing his rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the two other giants who have defined this era of modern tennis. That race has come to an end, at least for now.

Djokovic, 36, surpassed the retired Federer last summer, at Wimbledon’s Centre Court on the grass that Federer had ruled for so long, when he won his 21st Grand Slam title. In January at the Australian Open, Djokovic won again. That 22nd title tied Nadal, who missed this year’s French Open with an injury.

On Sunday, with a horde of fans waving Serbian flags and chanting his name and a cast of stars on hand for the occasion, he won again, this time for the record books.

The retired N.F.L. quarterback Tom Brady sat next to Jelena, Djokovic’s wife. The French soccer star Kylian Mbappé and the Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic sat a few rows above the court. The American actor Jake Gyllenhaal, the tennis icon Stan Smith and many French actors, singers, businessmen and athletes were also in the stands.

Djokovic did it on the red clay of the Philippe Chatrier court at the French Open, which Nadal has won an astonishing 14 times. A silver statue of the Spanish champion bullwhipping his forehand stands just hundreds of yards away.

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