Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning the French Open against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Paris on Sunday. Reuters
Novak Djokovic claimed a 19th Grand Slam title and became the first man in 52 years to win all four majors twice when he came from two sets down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in a gripping French Open final on Sunday.
The world number one triumphed 6-7 (6/8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 over the Greek 22-year-old who was playing in his first Slam final.
Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the final against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas. Reuters
Djokovic is now just one major away from equalling the all-time record of 20, jointly held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It was a second French Open crown for Djokovic after his 2016 victory and adds to his nine Australian Opens, five Wimbledon titles and three at the US Open.
The 34-year-old is the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Slams on multiple occasions and just the third in history. Djokovic had also spent more than four hours on court on Friday to knock out defending champion Rafael Nadal.
"It was an electric atmosphere. I want to thank everyone who has been with me on this journey," said Djokovic after the four-hour 11-minute final. "I have played almost nine hours over the last 48 hours against two great champions, it was really tough physically over the last three days, but I trusted in my capabilities and knew I could do it."
Djokovic is the first man ever to win a Slam title by twice coming back from two sets down in same the tournament. "I can relate to what Stefanos is going through but he will come back stronger and win many Grand Slams."
Djokovic now has 84 career titles in total while Sunday's win pushed him to the brink of $150 million in prize money.
"I had good run here so I am happy with myself," said Tsitsipas. "Novak has shown what a great champion he is and I hope one day have half of what he has achieved. "I tried my best. I had a good run and I'm happy with myself."
Tsitsipas survived a nervy opening service game, having to save two break points. Djokovic, by contrast, didn't concede a point in his first three service games. But suddenly he faced a set point in the 10th game courtesy of an ugly shank but saved it after a 26-shot rally.
Fired up by a time violation, Djokovic broke for the first time for a 6-5 lead but was unable to serve out the opener as a series of razor-sharp returns put Tsitsipas back on level terms. In a dramatic tiebreaker, Tsitsipas saw a 4/0 and 5/2 lead disappear.
He had to save a set point before claiming the opener after 70 minutes when Djokovic fired a forehand wide. Dropping the opening set at this year's Roland Garros was familiar territory for Djokovic.
He had to recover from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the last 16 and lost the opener against Nadal on Friday. Tsitsipas, 12 years the world number one's junior, broke again in the first game of the second set as the 2016 champion looked increasingly weary in the 30-degree afternoon heat.
The Greek edged ahead 5-2 and pocketed the second set with his eighth ace of the contest. But the top seed wasn't finished, breaking in the fourth game of the third set to cut the deficit.
Tsitsipas then called the trainer to treat a back problem which also gave him the opportunity to change the clay-covered shirt he'd worn since a first set tumble.
Thirty minutes later, it was two sets apiece after Djokovic secured a double break.
As the shadows swept across Court Philippe Chatrier, Tsitsipas' mood also darkened as he slipped 3-1 down in the decider. As the clock ticked past four hours, he fought off two more break points in the seventh game but Djokovic was not to be denied his latest slice of history taking the glory on his second championship point.
After winning the match, the Serbian star said, it was more than a battle. Brerettini is a true Italian hammer I felt it on my skin. It means none of us three will stop. Roger and Rafa are legends they are the reason I am where I am today, said Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic can become only the second man in history to have twice held all four Grand Slam titles at the same time with victory at the French Open.
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