By Obaid ur Rehman.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia has finally cemented his name in Grand Slam lore, rallying past a tough rival and World No. 2 British Andy Murray by 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 for a historic Roland Garros title in Paris. A three-time finalist in Paris (2012, 2014 & 2015), Djokovic captured the only missing grand slam trophy in his growing trophy case and has become the eighth man in history to complete the Career Grand Slam. Also, the Serbian Nole is the third to hold all four major crowns at the same time (Wimbledon 2015, US Open 2015, Australian Open 2016 and French Open 2016), joining Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962, 1969) and is the only one in an Open Era. Djokovic notched his 12th Grand Slam title, leveling with Roy Emerson, for fourth place on the all-time title list. Among active players, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are only ones who are ahead of Djokovic by having 17 and 14 Grand Slam Titles respectively in their cabinets.
When Djokovic met Andy Murray in a seventh Grand Slam Final and in 24th overall Head to Head meeting, it was Murray who stunned everybody by winning first set with ease through a couple of Lob Winners and by using Drops Shots as an offensive weapon in the cool and heavy conditions. Djokovic was not looking at his level best at the moment, but inspite of losing first set, Djokovic didn’t look back and quickly discovered to counter Murray and controlled his rhythm from the baseline and thus momentum swung in his favour. Djokovic broke Murray for 2-0 in the beginning of the second set by working in all corners of court with Drop Shots and Backhand Winners.
After winning the second set 6-1, Djokovic also grabbed another quick break in the third set and started pressurizing Murray. The earlier break in the third set had ultimately started clearing the way for Novak Djokovic to make the history. Murray attempted to deal with it, but Djokovic was pretty much relaxed in the early exchanges of the third set. Breaking Murray in third and fifth games propelled Djokovic into a 4-1 lead. At that time, Nole’s brilliant defence and forehand attacks almost snatched all the dreams of Murray for winning the title and then there was a little Murray could do. Djokovic won the third set comfortably by 6-2.
In the fourth set, Djokovic started sensing his chances to make the history when he broke Murray in the very first game of the set. Some excellent rallies were being witnessed between the duos but it was Djokovic who completely dominated the court. He was finally serving for the championship at 5-2 when Murray tried to hold his nerves and broke Djokovic, but under the circumstances, it wasn’t enough. Djokovic was then serving at 5-4 when Murray saved two championship points but until then it was too late for British to even make an effort for some miracle. The Serbian was finally able to control his emotions to complete the Career Grand Slam when Murray hit a backhand into the net on Nole’s third championship point and the Chair Umpire finally announced Game … Set … Match … Championship … Djokovic, a moment for which Djokovic has waited for a decade. By completing his Career Grand Slam, Djokovic has finally joined Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the History Books.
Novak Djokovic is the 8th Player to have won Career Grand Slam
After winning the French Open, Novak Djokovic also became the first player in history to pass the $100 Million mark in career earnings. Djokovic also moved to within one title of Roger Federer on the list of “Big Title” leaders. Roger Federer currently owns a combined 47 crowns at Grand Slams, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Events and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, whereas Djokovic has 46, with Nadal standing at third place on the table with 42 “Big Titles”. Djokovic has also now got 65 Singles Career Titles and claimed the 5th spot on the Open Era Tour-Level Titles List by passing Bjorn Borg and Pete Samparas. He is only four titles behind Rafael Nadal to surpass him as well for the fifth spot.
Novak Djokovic waited for that moment quite for a longer period of time. He has tried very hard to win the French Open but almost every time, it was Rafael Nadal who didn’t allow him to go ahead for the Paris-Trophy. He lost to Nadal in French Open on six different occasions including one Quarter Final (2006), 3 Semi Finals (2007, 2008, 2013) and 2 Finals (2012, 2014). Finally when Djokovic somehow managed to beat Nadal in the Quarter Finals of last year’s French Open, Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka came into Djokovic’s passage and crowned the French Open Championship surprisingly and Djokovic’s dreams for French Open title once again got dispersed. This win will surely boost Djokovic’s confidence to maximum and will enhance his motivational level to surpass his active competitors Rafael Nadal’s 14 and Roger Federer’s 17 Grand Slams.
The writer is Islamabad based Journalist and a Sports Analyst. He can be reached at; www.facebook.com/obi.malik www.twitter.com/obaidrehman1990