World number one Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray in four sets to win his first French Open title on Sunday. The Serb came from a set down to earn a career grand slam, and has become the first man since Australian Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slams at once.
Djokovic came out firing right from the start, determined to make up for losing in three previous finals in this competition. After taking the first game to break Murray’s serve to love, the occasion seemed to have got to him early on. A terrific lob by Murray got himself well into the game, playing with such aggression whenever he could, as he saw himself storm ahead into a 4-1 lead. The second seed Murray played superbly to take the first set 6-3, with a overrule by the chair umpire earning him the set. Prior to this, the Brit had never lost against Djokovic whenever he had won the first set, but that record looked to be gradually fading away.
After conceding the first set with a strangely numerous amount of unforced errors, Djokovic flicked a switch to play brilliantly in the second set. He pushed Murray hard, causing the Brit to double fault at break point. Murray’s first-serve was certainly the problem, with it slipping below 50% in conversion rate. Djokovic took the second in dominating fashion, winning it 6-1.
The third set proved the same amount of difficulty for Murray as the second, succumbing to Djokovic’s brilliantly executed forehand shots. Particularly shining at the net, the seen best player on the planet provided evidence for this statement, mesmerising the pro Djokovic crowd at every opportunity. Breaking Murray at will, chants of “Nole! Nole!” inspired Djokovic to a fantastic sliding winner to take a two sets to one lead in the final.
Entering the fourth set, it seemed Murray needed something of a miracle to stay in the match, looking more fatigued than the man across court. This needed miracle looked more and more improbable, with Djokovic stretching his lead to 5-2. Despite this wide margin, Murray refused to give up, showing tremendous fight to get one of the breaks back. Saving two match points, the Brit was right back in the game at 5-4. After a pulsating rally in what proved to be the final game, Murray hit the net with a backhand, as Djokovic fell to the floor, almost more relieved than ecstatic.
This historic victory puts Djokovic well within the record books, joining the likes of Laver and also American Don Budge in possession of all four Slams at the same time. Surely now considered one of the very best, the 29 year-old has plenty of time to go on and achieve more success, now with his eyes firmly focused on retaining the Wimbledon title this summer. As for Murray, he shouldn’t feel to down hearted, but this probably does show that his ranking of number two in the world is truly resembled, showing willingness and desire, but not enough to overcome the best of the business.
Written by Joe Dutton
Sources: Bleacher Report, Zimbio and Leader