Novak joins greats with maiden French crown
PARIS (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic joined the tennis greats on Sunday when he downed British second seed Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to claim his maiden French Open title and hold all four Grand Slams at the same time.
The world No. 1 recovered from a nervous start to impose his pace on Court Philippe Chatrier and clinch his 12th Grand Slam crown after three previous failures in a Roland Garros final.
Djokovic is only the third man after Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold the four majors at the same time, and the eighth man to triumph at Wimbledon and the French, US and Australian Opens.
“It’s a very special moment, possibly the biggest moment in my career,” the 29-year-old, who now has a 5-2 win-loss record against Murray in Grand Slam finals, said courtside.
Murray said: “This is something that is so rare in tennis. It has not happened for an extremely long time and it is going to take a long time for it to happen again.
“So everyone here who came to watch is obviously extremely lucky to see it. Me NOVAK DJOKOVIC basks in the glory of his first French Open triumph after he beat Andy Murray in yesterday’s final at Roland Garros. Meanwhile, Israeli teen Yshai Oliel (inset) captured the boys’ doubles title with Czech partner Patrik Rikl. personally being on the opposite side it sucks to lose the match.”
It looked like Djokovic got off to a dream start, taking Murray’s serve to love in the first game.
But the Briton, who was playing his 10th final at a major, hit the ball early to set up three break points in the following game, converting the third with a fine lob. He held to love and then broke again, winning 16 of 20 points to lead 4-1.
Tension threatened to boil over when Murray shouted “Get him out,” pointing to a French TV interviewer who was in the players’ box, before Djokovic had an altercation with the chair umpire.
As Murray was serving for the set, he was awarded a point to lead 30-0, Djokovic having hit his return before an “out” call on the serve was made.
“The call was after you hit the ball. I’m 100 percent sure,” Damien Dumusois told a frustrated Djokovic.
Murray, who beat Djokovic in the Rome Masters finals on clay last month, went on to win the set when his opponent netted a backhand.
He had a break point in the first game of the second set, but that was as good as it got for the Scot.
Djokovic, his aggression now channeled and matched by his accuracy, won the remaining games.
He raced to a 4-1 lead in the third set, breaking in the fifth game with a delicate angled drop shot that triggered chants of “Nole, Nole, Nole, Nole” in the stands.
There was no comeback in that set for the 29-year-old Murray, who then dropped serve in the opening game of the fourth set.
Djokovic, who is now on a 28-match winning streak in Grand Slams, broke to love to lead 5-2. Murray pulled a break back, but Djokovic shook off late jitters to win the title on his third match point when the Scot netted a backhand at the end of a nail-biting rally.
Israel’s Oliel wins boys doubles title
Also Sunday, 16-year-old Israeli Yshai Oliel claimed the boys’ doubles title at Roland Garros with Czech partner Patrik Rikl. Oliel and Rikl beat Yunseong Chung of South Korea and Orlando Luz of Brazil 6-3, 6-4 in the final.
Oliel, who was knocked out by No. 8 seed Jurabeck Karimov of Uzbekistan in the second round of the singles tournament in Paris, is widely considered to be the future of Israeli tennis, winning both the 12s and 14s titles at the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl International in Florida.
Oliel’s triumph on Sunday came 13 years after current Israel No. 1 Dudi Sela won the same title.
Allon Sinai contributed to this report.