Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 men’s tennis player in the world, made history by winning the 2016 French Open over Andy Murray and completing a career Grand Slam in the process.
This was Djokovic’s first French Open win in 12 tries and makes Djokovic only the eighth men’s player to complete a career Grand Slam.
In addition to completing a career Grand Slam, Djokovic is now the current champion in all four Grand Slam tournaments. Rod Laver was the last tennis player to accomplish that feat back in 1969 and 1962, along with Don Budge in 1938.
The match against Murray was exciting, and chants of “No-le,” Djokovic’s nickname, filled the stands. Murray started off strong, winning the first set 6-3 as Djokovic committed several unforced errors.
But as the match continued, Murray seemed to lose steam while Djokovic kept up his stamina. Djokovic won the second and third sets with little difficulty at 6-1 and 6-2 respectively.
But Murray made one last stand on the fourth set, and Djokovic appeared to get nervous as he double-faulted twice. He eventually calmed down, and then on the last serve, Djokovic gave a strong cross-court volley to Murray, who swatted the ball right into the net.
As the crowd erupted into applause, Djokovic collapsed onto the ground, his chest heaving. He then grabbed a racket and etched a heart into the clay, a gesture borrowed from three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten.
Murray’s defeat marks the fifth time he has lost to Djokovic in the finals of a Grand Slam tournament and the eighth time overall. The two-time Grand Slam singles winner congratulated Djokovic afterwards, stating in a press conference afterwards that “What he has achieved the last 12 months in phenomenal, winning all four slams in the same year is an amazing achievement.”
The tournament itself got rough at times for Djokovic. Weather throughout the French Open was miserable with constant rain, and Djokovic had multiple matches cancelled. Then in the quarterfinals against Czech Tomas Berdych, Djokovic tossed his racket on the ground. The racket bounced and narrowly missed a line judge, which could have disqualified Djokovic had the racket hit.
But Djokovic won, and now he can set his sights even higher. If he can win the Wimbledon in a few weeks and the U.S. Open in late August to early September, Djokovic would be the first player since Laver to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single year.
Such a feat has been described as impossible, given the stamina required as well as the different conditions at each of the courts. American Jim Courier was the last player since Djokovic to win just the Australian and French openings in a calendar year back in 1992.
When Djokovic was asked about accomplishing the feat, he observed that for now, all he wants to do is celebrate winning this tournament. But he did state “I really think everything is achievable in life.”
With the French Open win, Djokovic now has 12 Grand Slams singles titles, which is tied for the fourth-highest total ever along with Roy Emerson. Roger Federer has the most titles with 17, followed by Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal with 14.
As Djokovic is 29, it is not crazy to suggest that he could reach or even surpass Federer’s total, which could arguably make him the greatest tennis player ever. Djokovic has shown a constant attention to fitness and stamina, which means that he could continue to play for a very long time.
In the women’s single, Spanish player Garbine Muguruza defeated Serena Williams to win her first Grand Slam title. It was the first Grand Slam title victory by a Spanish woman since 1998.
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