Djokovic conquers Roland Garros to join tennis pantheon
Updated: 2016-06-06 10:35
Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after he beats Andy Murray in the French Open Men's Singles Final Match at Roland Garros, Paris, France on June 5, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
PARIS - After years of near misses, Novak Djokovic finally conquered mount Roland Garros on Sunday to win the one trophy he craved like no other -- a maiden French Open title that elevated him into the pantheon of tennis greats.
It was a trophy he had failed to hoist in 11 previous visits to Paris. It was a trophy that was flaunted in front of his face in 2012, 2014 and 2015, only he was not allowed to touch it after finishing runner-up in the three finals
On Sunday, the Musketeers' Cup was his at last as he broke Andy Murray's resistance with a 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory that not only completed his grand slam collection but also made him the first man in nearly half a century to hold all four majors at once.
After such an emotional win, the world number one thanked the fans who had serenaded him with chants of "No-le, No-le, No-le, No-le" throughout the three-hour battle by recreating one of the most famous celebrations seen at Roland Garros.
A la Gustavo Kuerten in 2001, Djokovic drew a giant love-heart into the red clay with his racket before collapsing into the middle of it -- an x-shaped emblem of triumph.
"It's a very special moment, the biggest of my career," Djokovic told the crowd, which included the much-loved Brazilian champion, after capturing his 12th grand slam title.
"I felt today something that I never felt before at Roland Garros, I felt the love of the crowd, I drew the heart on the court, like Guga which he gave me permission to do. My heart will always be with you on this court."
Winning the four majors -- Wimbledon, U.S. Open, Australian Open and the French Open -- in a row is a feat that is so difficult that it had not been achieved by a man since Rod Laver won the second of his calendar Grand Slams in 1969.
Hence, after Djokovic joined an exclusive club, which previously boasted only Laver and Don Budge as members, Murray was quick to applaud the Serb's monumental achievement.