French Open Final: Novak Djokovic steals another soul on the way to 23

(Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images) /

Novak Djokovic won the 2023 French Open on Sunday defeating Casper Ruud 7-6 6-3 7-5. In doing so, Djokovic won his 23rd Grand Slam title and probably cemented his legacy as the best player in the history of tennis. One can debate that argument later, but Djokovic, even at 36 years old, remains the best player of his day without question.

The match was a bit like a boxing match. Ruud came out hot, landing powerful forehand after powerful backhand, and took the first three games of the match. Djokovic, however, does what he normally does and remained calm, counting the times he bounces the ball before he attempts a serve. Some find this annoying, but there’s a point: Djokovic controls every part of the match, including the pace it’s played.

Ruud played hard until the end as the third set was 4-4 before a late Djokovic break. But the match felt over after Djokovic came back to win the first set, wiping Ruud out in the tie-break 7-1. Ruud came out somewhat flat after a long break between the first and second sets and by the time Ruud regained any semblance of his control, the second set was 3-0 Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic dominates Casper Ruud in French Open victory

Djokovic is just an amazingly impressive player still. The famous Andy Roddick saying of Djokovic that Djokovic “first takes your legs then he takes your soul” remains apt. Ruud wanted this match and started off like he could actually take it.

But after losing the first set, Ruud seemed done because there likely was a thought that occurred to him, “I can’t beat Novak Djokovic.” Ruud had never won a set against Djokovic prior to the French Open final and that part also is still true.

Ruud is a good player and at just 24 years old should have several more chances to win a major. There is a ton of young talent in tennis with players like Carlos Alcaraz and Deniil Medvedev. The issue is those guys still have to deal with Djokovic.

Next. Iga Swiatek takes French Open women's title. dark

Djokovic is now the all-time leader with 23 Grand Slam titles. He is 36 years old and should be nearly done playing. But he doesn’t look like he is finished anytime soon, and he could still win another five majors.