Novak Djokovic has cruised to his 23rd grand slam in straight sets, overtaking Rafael Nadal as the men’s player with the most titles.

The Serb hit 52 winners to dispatch Casper Ruud in straight sets 7-6, 6-3, 7-5. Djokovic’s 11 aces contributed to him winning 75 per cent of the service points, and his consistency over the Norwegian made the difference.

In winning, Djokovic became the first man to claim all four grand slams at least three times, and is on track for a calendar grand slam if he wins Wimbledon and the US Open – a feat only ever achieved by Australia’s Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969. He also became the oldest player to win the French Open.

“I feel very proud, also tired, but it has been an amazing couple of weeks for me in Paris,” he said, after the match.

“It’s exactly what I wanted at the start of the season. I’m thrilled and proud to make history in the sport that I truly love.

“Roland Garros, for me, is the most difficult to win, and that’s why it makes it even sweeter.”

Not only did Djokovic become the most decorated men’s tennis player, but he also won his 11th grand slam from the past 20, despite being barred from two of them due to COVID vaccination rules.

As Djokovic continues winning slams, having surpassed the likes of Roger Federer (in 2022) and Pete Sampras (in 2019), the debate over whether he is the greatest male tennis player (Serena Williams has 23 and Margaret Court 24) ever has gathered pace.

In response, Djokovic replied: “I leave those kinds of discussions of who is the greatest to someone else… This trophy is confirmation of the tennis I am still able to produce.”

Before the historic final, Djokovic defeated the 20-year-old world number 1 Carlos Alcaraz by three sets to one in the semi-final; and it was clear that the 36-year-old was keen to regain his number 1 spot again.

Djokovic, however, had to overcome Ruud, who was looking to become the first Norwegian man to win a grand slam.

After defeating Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the semi-final, the 24-year-old looked keen to overcome last year’s consecutive sets final loss against Rafael Nadal.

Ruud had also never defeated Djokovic, or even won a set against him.

Initially, Djokovic started nervously as Rudd used a mixture of high loopy balls and aggressive forehand winners to fly to a 3-0 lead, shocking the crowd at Court Philippe-Chatrier.

However, as the first set progressed, Djokovic became more aggressive in his strokes, forcing Ruud to make unforced errors.

Djokovic then overcame a fall to move the first set to a tiebreak, dominating 7-1 as he attacked Ruud’s weaker backhand and defended his aggressive forehand shots, to take the first set 7-6.

Set two, however, saw Djokovic outplay his Norwegian opponent as he increased his movement and aggression, which saw him fly out to a 3-0 lead. As Ruud’s first serve percentage began to slip to 48 per cent, it was clear he could not keep up with Djokovic’s consistent pressure.

Ruud tried to utilise sliced backhands but Djokovic continually took advantage of this, and the second set took just 43 minutes to complete compared to the 90-minute first set. Djokovic hit 14 winners to Ruud’s 7 and out-aced the Norwegian 7-1 to take the second set 6-3.

Djokovic continued to dominate the third set putting even more pressure on Ruud as he racked up five forehand winners in the first four games. Ruud, however, began to gain momentum as he started to find movement and used the breezy conditions to continue to pursue his undefendable forehand strikes.

However, Djokovic stayed toe-to-toe with the 24-year-old and scored seven consecutive points to break Ruud 6-5 and serve for the championship. Djokovic created three unforced errors and a forehand winner, which allowed him to become the first man to win 23 grand slam titles.

Main image screenshot courtesy Eurosports.