Novak Djokovic has won a record-breaking 23rd men’s singles Grand Slam title after victory in the French Open final.
The 36-year-old Serbian tennis star beat Norway’s Casper Ruud in straight sets in Paris 7-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Djokovic’s victory at Roland Garros on Sunday means he overtakes Spanish rival Rafael Nadal after they were previously tied on 22 slams each.
Djokovic, the world number three, also becomes the first man in tennis history to win at least three trophies from each of the four slams.
He has a record 10 Australian Open titles as well as triumphing at three French Opens, seven Wimbledons and three US Opens.
The Serbian’s victory means he is now level with American Serena Williams and he could equal Australian Margaret Court’s all-time singles mark – 24 – at next month’s Wimbledon.
It is the fifth time that Djokovic has beaten 24-year-old Ruud. The Norwegian world number four has failed to win a set in any of their matches.
Ruud, playing in his third major final after Roland Garros and the US Open, got off to a better start with an early break on Philippe Chatrier court.
Djokovic, however, rallied back to win the tiebreak, then cruised through the second set and tightened his grip when it mattered in the third.
After his victory, the third seed, wearing a jacket with the number 23 on the front, shared a hug with 1983 champion Yannick Noah before lifting the cup.
He was then presented with a replica version of the trophy with all of his 23 titles engraved.
‘I’m very emotional’
Djokovic told the crowd: “I am delighted to be in this stadium in this very special moment. This tournament has been in all my life, all my career, the hardest for me to win. So I’m very emotional right now.”
He added: “I was a seven-year-old dreaming of winning Wimbledon one day. I’m beyond grateful and blessed to be standing here with so many achievements.
“I felt I had the power to create my own destiny. I want to send a message out there to every young person. If you want a better future, you’ll create it.”
Last month, Djokovic risked fuelling political tensions in his home region with a political message about Kosovo – after peacekeeping troops were hurt when ethnic Serbs clashed with police.
Image: Novak Djokovic beat Casper Ruud in straight sets in the final Following his win in the first round of the French Open, Djokovic wrote on the camera lens: “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Stop the violence.”
Kosovo declared independence in 2008 – but the two countries have been foes for decades, as Belgrade refused to recognise its sovereignty.
In January, Djokovic won the Australian Open to equal Nadal’s Grand Slam record, a year after the Serbian was deported from the country over his COVID vaccination status.
The tennis player has refused to have the coronavirus vaccine.